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Easier Extraction of Underwater Minerals
March 10, 2009 19:22

Placer gold

Russian scientists suggest an innovative technology for openworking of sand, sand-and-gravel and other types of water-bearing deposits. Main targets of the technology are aggregates: crushed stones, sand, gravel, quartz and even gold.

New technology provides mining of mineral raw materials by means of a unit, main parts of which are cable rope and scraper. Two scrapers (bowls, which hang on ropes) shovel rocks from a water body’s bottom. Then pulp, which is the mixture of water and rocks, goes to a frosted dredge ship (a ship, carrying a special pump for pulp), where it is dehydrated and forwarded to the ground. Rock particles stick together, while in the air, and arrive to the ground as “frozen peas”. The lower air temperature falls below zero, the harder rock “peas” stick to each other – perfect for miners, since it is very convenient to take “frozen peas” with shovels and excavator buckets, as well as to transport them on dump trucks.

Researchers characterize their innovation as “high output technology”, since it produces up to 600 cubic meters of rock per hour. The technique also shows significant extraction depth, which is about 25-30 meters. We should not, of course, forget about the main merit of the innovation – the technology provides the possibility for mining mineral raw materials, when outside temperatures fall below freezing point, which is extremely important for Russia and some other countries with severe climate. Creating of such a technology is the revolution in existing ideas of applying hydrotechnologies for mining engineering – technologies, which allow extraction of useful minerals by means of energy of the water flow. Before new technology was developed, mining technologies used to be seasonal, since atmospheric temperatures of 5-10 degrees Centigrade were the lowest limit for this kind of technological processes.



Today many countries of the world consider hydrotechnologies to be among a number of promising technologies for development of mining engineering. Water helps producing a variety of solid commercial minerals, including coal, and easier fracturing and transporting of rocky materials. Hydrotechnologies have a number of advantages over dry excavation: they allow working in heavy-going marshlands, in riverbeds and various water bodies. They require less energy (converted to some hypothetic fuel) and emit less toxic and contaminating substances to Earth’s atmosphere. They bring less damage to soil, compared to other types of mineral extraction, and do not pollute water. Moreover, spreading of sediments accelerates oxidation processes of organic matter, thus preventing lakes from turning into bogs. Hydrotechnologies make open pits 5 times smaller, than dry excavation requires, and thus do not need expropriation of agricultural and forest lands.

The technology was approved in Novy Urengoi of Tumen Region.

Source: Science News

Kizilova Anna

Tags: Tumen Region     

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