Before we head into the summer months, you might be looking to catch up on your technical know-how. Here are the top seven articles people are reading on this mining blog site. Some are a little dated but the information is still valuable.
- A guest author describes a few of the industry’s most common types of equipment and why they’re important for the job, including mining drills, blasting tools, earth movers, crushing equipment, feeding, conveying, and on-line elemental analysis equipment. Read a little more about these important tools of the mining trade.
- There is a growing demand for lithium-ion (Li-ion) batteries to supply the electric car market. Establishing a reliable, diversified supply of lithium is a top priority for technology companies around the world. Where will all the lithium come from? Lithium is a poorly concentrated mineral, so traditional hard-rock mining of lithium-bearing pegmatite and spodumene is a costly and time-intensive endeavor. The easiest and least expensive method of obtaining lithium is by the evaporation of highly concentrated lithium brine. Read more about how lithium mining touches technology.
- Pyrite is called “Fool’s Gold” because it resembles gold to the untrained eye. Pyrite is found in a wide variety of geological settings, from igneous, sedimentary and metamorphic rock to hydrothermal mineral deposits, as well as in coal beds and as a replacement mineral in fossils. Pyrite can be either disseminated throughout igneous rock or concentrated in layers, depending on depositional mechanism and environment. Pyrite forms in sedimentary rocks in oxygen-poor environments in the presence of iron and sulfur. These are usually organic environments, such as coal and black shale, where decaying organic material consumes oxygen and releases sulfur. Pyrite often replaces plant debris and shells to create pyrite fossils or flattened discs called pyrite dollars. Read about how Portable x-ray fluorescence (XRF) analyzers are an important tool to discover if it’s pyrite or gold.
- Mining for precious colored gemstones is rigorous and time-consuming because the deposits are few and when found, tend to be characterized by small quantities of gems scattered throughout a large amount of rock. Modern mining techniques are of little value in these circumstances, and the deposits are often too small to be profitable for major mine outfits, who leave them to small, independent miners who rely on the same manual techniques they have been using for decades. Nevertheless, in recent years, several major mining companies have entered the gemstone market with new strategies for employing modern mining practice. Read about Energy Dispersive X-Ray Fluorescence (EDXRF), which is a nondestructive tool for determining the authenticity of colored gemstones and their geographical origin.
- Air quality is an important issue, especially in highly regulated industries such as coal mining, cement processing, and coal‐ and oil‐fired power generation. Rules such the Mercury and Air Toxics Standards (MATS) and the Maximum Achievable Control Technology (MACT) Standards are designed to protect the public and keep ambient air pollution-free. Learn about portable and personal instruments that are available to monitor ambient air in the workplace to help detect the presence of toxic vapors and gases.
- Mining operations, however expansive and complex, are temporary. Eventually, once the most accessible and valuable materials have been extracted, the mine is closed, and the site must be restored back to its original state. This includes covering up mine entrances, replanting grass and trees, and testing surrounding water, soil, and air for contaminants. Here’s what you need to know about water, soil, and air quality remediation.
- Some mining companies are figuring out ways to turn tailings to profits with novel reprocessing technologies to extract valuable metals from the waste. To accurately identify minerals within tailings, geologists turn to analytical technologies including both laboratory and portable X-ray fluorescence (XRF) instruments. Portable XRF analyzers provide fast, accurate analysis of tailings to quickly and easily gauge the efficiency of extraction and enrichment processes. Read how the real-time assay data provided by a portable XRF analyzer allows for timely process adjustments, improving productivity and reducing the need for reprocessing.
Looking for additional resources? You can always check out our Cement, Coal, and Minerals Resource Center — with free application notes, white papers, ebooks, technology primers, etc.