Providing Products for All Types of Mining

Mining Industry

The Mining Industry may be categorized into 3 groups, based on the type of minerals they produce: energy minerals, nonmetallic minerals, and metallic minerals.

It is hard to overstate the significance of the mining industry's contribution to the US economy. Mining has played an important part in the development of the United States. In the past, the discovery of minerals such as gold and silver resulted in population shifts and economic growth. Extraction of minerals and coal continues to provide the foundation for local economies in some parts of the country. Products of this industry are used as inputs for consumer goods, processes, and services provided by all other industries, including agriculture, manufacturing, transportation, utilities, communication, and construction. Uses of mined materials include coal for energy, copper for wiring, gold for satellites and complex electronic components, and a variety of other minerals as ingredients in medicines and household products.

But for mining coal and metallic and nonmetallic minerals, employers in this industry explore for minerals and develop new mines and quarries. Metallic minerals include ores, such as bauxite from which aluminum is extracted, copper, gold, iron, lead, silver, and zinc. Nonmetallic minerals include stone, sand, gravel, clay, and other minerals such as lime and soda ash, used as chemicals and fertilizers. This industry also includes initial mineral processing and preparation activities, because processing plants usually operate together with mines or quarries as part of the extraction process.

Mining is the process of digging into the earth to extract naturally occurring minerals. There are two kinds of mining, surface mining and underground mining. MegaDepot offers the products (tools, instruments and work safety equipment) needed for all surface and underground mining.

Surface mining, also called open-pit mining or strip mining, is performed if the mineral is near the earth's surface. This method usually is more cost-effective and requires fewer workers to produce the same quantity of ore than does underground mining. In surface mining, after blasting with explosives, workers use huge earthmoving equipment, such as power shovels or draglines, to scoop off the layers of soil and rock covering the mineral bed.

Underground mining is used when the mineral deposit lies deep below the surface of the earth. When developing an underground mine, miners first must dig two or more openings, or tunnels, deep into the earth near the place where they believe coal or minerals are located. Depending on where the vein of ore is in relation to the surface, tunnels may be vertical, horizontal, or sloping. One opening allows the miners to move in and out of the mine with their tools and also serves as a path for transporting the mined rock by small railroad cars or by conveyor belts to the surface. The other opening is used for ventilation.

Employment in all the three sectors are declining significantly as new technology and more sophisticated mining techniques are increasing productivity, allowing growth in output while employing fewer workers. Most mining machines and control rooms are now automatic or computer-controlled, requiring fewer, if any, human operators. Many mines also operate with other sophisticated technology such as lasers and robotics, which further decrease the number of workers needed to mine materials.