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ENV100Y5 (125)
Chapter 11

Chapter 11.docx

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University of Toronto Mississauga
Monika Havelka

Chapter 11: Mining Resources Rocks provide the mineral resources we need to conduct our lives: • Rock = solid aggregation of minerals • Mineral = naturally occurring solid inorganic chemical element or compound with a crystal structure, a specific chemical composition, and distinct physical properties • Tantalite is a mineral that consists of the elements oxygen, iron, manganese, and tantalum bonded together in specific proportions (Fe,Mn)Ta2O6 o occurs most commonly in pegmatite (a type of igneous rock similar to granite). o Pegmatite generally contains the minerals feldspar, quartz, mica and occasionally includes gemstones and other rare minerals Mineral resources can be metals or non-metals: Non-metal = basically everything else • Metal = chemical element that is shiny, opaque, malleable, and conducts heat -  Fertilizers and electricity -  Salt • Precious metals (gold, silver, platinum) -  Building stone • Base & ferrous metals (iron, nickel, -  Aggregates copper, zinc, etc…) -  Clay • Are not found in pure state in Earth’s crust, but are present in ore -  Asbestos -  Gemstones -  Uranium and other fuels -  Many others We obtain mineral resources by mining: • Mining: systematic removal of rock, regolith, or other materials for the purpose of extracting minerals of economic interest o Extract any non-renewable resources o E.g. fossil fuels, groundwater, minerals o Most minerals are widely spread in low concentrations; miners and geologists must try to locate concentrated sources. • Deposit = natural occurrence of a resource • Grade = level of concentration of ore in a deposit • Ore = a rock in which valuable minerals have been concentrated by geologic processes and from which we extract metals and other minerals o economically valuable material in a deposit o Native = uncombined with other elements (i.e., not in the form of a compound) • Gangue = waste rock and non-valuable minerals associated with ores o Higher proportion of gangue to ore, the more waste rock is generated by the mining process Mining is an important industry both globally and for Canada: • Much of Canada’s economic history has been based on extractive industries o Many towns exist mainly because of their mining history. • Mineral production contributed approx. $63 billion to Canada’s GDP in 2011 • 21% of the value of exported goods from Canada • The non-fuel mining industry, together with processors and manufacturers of products provided roughly 1 in every 46 jobs in Canada in 2011 There are different types of mines • The type of mine depends on what you are mining and what type of deposit it is Underground (subsurface) mines: Subsurface mining: Takes place in underground tunnels and shafts o Gold, zinc, lead, nickel, tin, diamonds, phosphate, salt, coal, uranium, and many others o Resources occurs in concentrated pockets or seams deep underground and the rock allows for safe tunneling, and mining o In this approach, shafts are excavated deep into ground, and networks of tunnels are dug or blasted o Miners remove the resources systematically and ship it to the surface o Deepest mines extend nearly 4 km underground o The most dangerous form of mining  Dynamite blasts, collapsed tunnels, toxic fumes, coal dust o Subsurface mines can affect people years after they close  Acid drainage, polluted groundwater, sinkholes damage roads and homes, etc. Surface mines • Strip mine: layers of soil and rock are removed to expose a resource close to the surface o Recourses occurs in shallow horizontal deposits near the surface o Overburden = overlying soil and rock that is removed by heavy machinery  After extraction, each strip is refilled with the overburden o Used mainly for coal, oil sands, sand, gravel and economically efficient o Completely removing vegetation, nutrient rich top soil o Destroys natural communities over large areas and triggers erosion o Can lead to acid min
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