Mining is both environmentally disruptive and expensive. This is why cut-off grades are set so that the industry is forced to search for economies of scale. This is due to the fact that more than 80 percent of a mine’s production costs come from moving and processing the valuable metal. According to the Mining Association of Canada, “Over the past four decades, annual production costs for all mine products in Canada have kept pace with inflation, despite marked increases in production levels.”
Facts on In-Place Mining: A Shift in Metal Extraction
In-place mining is a method of extracting a mineral resource where the metal is found in a solid-state as opposed to a mineral solution with a high enough concentration to be extracted by a traditional method. As well, it is a method of extracting metal of a low concentration that would not be economical using traditional extraction techniques. The process involves a specific method of drilling, blasting and loading while on the move to bore tunnels into the mineral vein and extracts the ore.
What Is In Line Recovery (ILR)?
In-line Recovery (ILR) is the mining method used in the mining industry to recover low-grade or fine-grained ores that would be uneconomical or impossible to recover by traditional mining methods. ILR is sometimes referred to as Underground Resource Extraction or Underground Mining. ILR has been used in mineral extraction since the early 20th century and remains a viable method of extracting low-grade ores.
What Is In Mine Recovery (IMR)?
In Mine Recovery (IMR) is a method of separating valuable minerals from waste rock that would normally be discarded but is beneficial for recovering valuable minerals. IMR has been used since the late 20th century as a method of recovering valuable minerals where the cost of traditional mining is too high. Often, IMR is used in close proximity to a mine to reduce the amount of waste rock, which can be used for other purposes.
What Is In Situ Recovery (ISR)?
In situ mining is a mining process where valuable minerals are extracted from the ground by dissolving the ore. The ore is dissolved in a liquid solution, which is pumped underground through a borehole and then captured by applying a current to the solution, which solidifies the ore. The ore can then be extracted. ISR is often used in high-grade ores or ores with high metal content or in ores that are problematic to recover using traditional mining techniques.
Why Should These Methods Be Considered More Closely?
Geological conditions are largely responsible for the choice of mining method. In-place mining and in-line recovery are used where the ore mineral is found in a solid-state such as copper and copper-silver deposits. However, the method is also used on ores with a low concentration of high-grade minerals or ores that contain heavy metals such as gold, silver, copper and zinc. For economic reasons, mining companies prefer to use mining methods that recover as large a proportion as possible of the ore body. ILR and IMR are a way of extracting as much ore as possible while also reducing waste generated by traditional mining techniques.
The issue of mining waste has been a contentious issue for years. In-line and in mine recovery are often a solution as they are less likely to create waste and are more efficient. Although these methods are less common, they are preferable in many scenarios.
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