Underground Mining Equipment: A Tech Look Inside

For construction companies and operators working on mining construction projects, understanding how equipment works on mines is critical. Here is an inside look into three different uses and how equipment is used.

Room and Pillar Mining

According to Technavio, room and pillar mining is a type of underground mining technique where the mined material is mined across a horizontal plane. This is typically done to extract iron, coal and base metal ores, and typical equipment used are haulage machines, mining drills, continuous miners, roof bolters and scoops.

The ore is extracted in two different phases. The first phase leverages pillars of untouched materials to support the roof overburden. The remaining open areas are then extracted underground and the pillars are partially extracted.

Longwall Mining 

The second method is longwall mining, which is more safe and productive. This is because automation is involved, which reduces the requirement of manpower to extract materials. The automation also means mining activities take less time to complete. Typical equipment includes shearers, plow systems, conveyors and longwall face bolters.

Technavio says there is a high demand for this today, and the cost benefits and enhanced safety will drive the use of longwall mining.

Technology is continuing to advance in this area as well. For example, Komatsu, offers a Longwall 3D Visualizer, which is a 3D graphics system to enable the user to virtually navigate the longwall face while the system is in production. This gives operators remote access, making operations safer.

Borehole Mining 

The final underground mining technique is borehole mining, which is remotely operated by digging boreholes and then using high-pressure water jets to extract materials. With this, a borehole is drilled from a land surface to the desired depth, and then a casing column is lowered down the hole, followed by the borehole mining tool.

Some significant benefits here include mobility, selectivity, low environmental impact, low capital cost and the ability to work in hazardous and dangerous conditions.

These are only a few different examples of mining advances, and how tech and equipment come together to enable these processes in a way that is efficient, productive and safe.

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