Before a mining project commences, the site in question is thoroughly explored, entailing a series of lengthy and complex analyses and appraisals to determine the feasibility of the project and the most efficient process to implement. If the minerals are found to be deposited deep in the earth, the only viable option is developing an underground mining operation that involves the creation of a mine shaft.
What is a mine shaft?
A mine shaft is a is a vertical access hole that is several meters in diameter and stretches down to the location of the ore. It is where miners, supplies, equipment, water and air are conveyed to gain access to the ore. Ore is conveyed to the surface through mine skips that move up and down the shaft.
Mine Cages and Drifts
The equipment that transports miners to and from the mine through the shaft is called the mine cage that works similar to elevators in tall buildings. Mine cages are designed to strict industry standards, using well-treated aluminum and steel, to provide required capacities and ensure the safety of passengers and the continuity of the operation.
Perpendicular to the shaft is a series of tunnels called drifts that extend toward the ore and provide workstations and equipment storage spaces.
Transporting Ore through Mining Skips
The ore is blasted at the source then crushed and transported through the drifts for loading into the skip that then moves up the shaft to the surface. Skips are generally manufactured using stainless steel or aluminum. There are different types of mining skips, each with specific capacities and sets of features to support a range of loads and working conditions.
Bottom-dump skips, for instance, are lightweight skips that can transport medium to large loads. An even lighter option for transporting heavy loads is the Kimberly skip, which features a well-designed steel bucket with welded steel channel or flat bar stiffeners to minimize spillage. Other types of skips that can be installed in shafts include front-dump skips (types 1 and 2) and arc gate style skips.
Mining companies depend on manufacturers like Wabi Iron & Steel Corp. to supply durable and long-lasting shaft conveyance components such as cages and skips. Not only do companies like these build equipment to the highest of industry standards, they can also provide customized solutions to meet any mining project need.
How Mining Works > Exploration/Feasiblity, miningfactsmmsa.com
Bottom Dump Skip, mininglifeonline.net
Shaft Mining, greatmining.com