Underground mining (hard rock)

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Underground hard rock mining refers to various underground mining techniques used to excavate hard minerals, mainly those minerals containing metals[1] such as ore containing gold, copper, zinc, nickel and lead, but also involves using the same techniques for excavating ores of gems such as diamonds. In contrast soft rock mining refers to excavation of softer minerals such as salt, coal, or oil sands.

Contents

Mine access

Underground access

Accessing underground ore can be achieved via a decline (ramp), inclined vertical shaft or adit.

  • Declines can be a spiral tunnel which circles either the flank of the deposit or circles around the deposit. The decline begins with a box cut, which is the portal to the surface. Depending on the amount of overburden and quality of bedrock, a galvanized steel culvert may be required for safety purposes. They may also be started into the wall of an open cut mine.

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