10 Underground Mining Facts

The process of mining dates back to prehistoric times when people first mined flint. They used this mineral to create tools and weapons, breaking it into shards with sharp edges. Open-pit, underwater, and underground mining are the three main methods of mining we use today to extract materials from the ground. Underground mining is implemented to extract ore from below the surface of the earth safely and efficiently. The entry from above the ground to an underground mine could be through a horizontal or vertical tunnel, known as an adit, shaft or decline. The risks are doubled in underground mining than in surface mining, it is dubbed as being one of the most dangerous jobs in the world and we can understand why. However, the development of heavy machinery has made it a lot safer for miners to work.

Below are some interesting facts you may not already know about underground mining:

1.Underground mines can reach extreme depths.

The Mponeng gold mine located south-west of Johannesburg in South Africa, is the deepest operational mine in the world.  Which is currently at 3.84km with a plan to extend to 4.27km.

2. The first metals to be unearthed were gold and copper.

It is recorded that the first finding of metals was found in 8,700 BC. Scientists have discovered copper pipes that dated back over than five thousand years.

3. There are two types of underground mines.

The two are hard rock or soft rock. The difference being in hard rock mines the minerals unearthed are lead, zinc, nickel, copper, silver and gold.

Whereas soft rock underground mines the extracted minerals are oil shake, coal, potash and other soft rocks. The method used for each depends upon which mineral is being obtained.

4. The ‘Luck of the Irish’ is an old mining term.

The Irish had a talent when it came to digging mining fortunes during the golden rush… however, some believed this to be luck which is where the term began.

5. The average modern electronic device has more than 35 minerals in it.

Whether it is the computer you work from or the iPhone you carry in your pocket, our modern-day technology use gold, copper, zinc and many other materials to make up the components of these communication devices.

6. Underground mining technology is always evolving.

When it comes to mining, technology is always improving and looking for new ways to make it safer and easier for the workforce to reach those deeper depths needed to gain a competitive advantage.

7. There are two types of underground mining methods: longwall and room-and-pillar.

The oldest approach is room-and-pillar as this dates back to before the 1840’s. The safest however is longwall as this gives the miners more safety. The chosen method is determined by many factors of the mine in order to maximise extraction in the most efficient way.

8. There are different ways to manage the environmental impacts.

Sadly, when mining began many were unaware of the detrimental impact to the environment. However, over time our understanding of the consequences has meant we can try rectifying this as much as possible, by implementing several policies to prevent further serious damage.

9. Gold is elusive.

It is believed that more than of 80% of the world’s gold has yet to be discovered, it is buried several thousand metres below the earth’s surface, making it impossible to extract.

10. Underground mines are an investment than can pay off.

Underground mining can be very expensive due to the need to go deeper than a surface mine, so a range of more extensive tools and equipment are required, however if carried out safely and efficiently it can generate a lot of money.

Here at Omnia Machinery, we offer a wide range of quality used mining equipment such as Underground Trucks, Underground Excavators, Underground Loaders, Underground Rock Drills and Underground Dumpers. We offer machinery from the leading manufacturers such as Caterpillar, Atlas Copco and Sandvik. As with all of our heavy equipment, each machine is thoroughly inspected, tested and serviced before shipment, ensuring you’re supplied with only the best for your project. Browse our underground machinery here!