High School Earth Science/Mining and Using Minerals

High School Earth Science/Mining and Using Minerals

If you purchase a roll of aluminum foil or some child powder, do you consider how the merchandise have been made? In all probability not. We take many on a regular basis objects which are produced from minerals without any consideration. However, earlier than the merchandise might be placed on retailer cabinets, minerals need to
be faraway from the bottom and made into the supplies we want. A mineral deposit that accommodates sufficient minerals to be mined for revenue known as an ore. Ores are rocks that include concentrations of worthwhile minerals. The bauxite proven within the Determine 3.26 is a rock that accommodates minerals which are used to make aluminum.

Determine 3.26: Aluminum is produced from minerals in rocks often called bauxite.

Lesson Aims[edit]

  • Clarify how minerals are mined.
  • Describe how metals are produced from mineral ores.
  • Summarize the methods by which gems are used.
  • Establish some helpful minerals.

Discovering and Mining Minerals[edit]

Geologists want to search out the ore deposits which are hidden underground. Totally different geologic processes focus mineral sources. They examine geologic formations trying to find areas which are more likely to have ore deposits. They check the bodily and chemical properties of soil and rocks. For instance, they may check rocks to see if the rocks are magnetic or include sure chemical components. Then, geologists make maps of their findings to find attainable ore deposits. Right now, satellites do among the work for geologists. Satellites could make maps of enormous areas extra shortly than geologists on the bottom can.

After a mineral deposit is discovered, geologists decide how huge it’s. In addition they calculate how a lot of the dear minerals they assume they may get from mining the deposit. The minerals will solely be mined whether it is worthwhile. Whether it is worthwhile to mine the ore, they determine the way in which it needs to be mined. The 2 major strategies of mining are floor mining and underground mining.

Floor Mining[edit]

Floor mining is used to acquire mineral ores which are near Earth’s floor. The soil and rocks over the ore are eliminated by blasting. Sometimes, the remaining ore is drilled or blasted so that enormous machines can fill vehicles with the damaged rocks. The vehicles take the rocks to factories the place the ore can be separated from the remainder of the rock. Floor mining contains open-pit mining, quarrying, and strip mining.

Because the identify suggests, open-pit mining creates an enormous pit from which the ore is mined. Determine 3.27 reveals an open-pit diamond mine in Russia. The dimensions of the pit grows till it’s now not worthwhile to mine the remaining ore. Strip mines are just like pit mines, however the ore is eliminated in giant strips. A quarry is a sort of open-pit mine that produces rocks and minerals which are used to make buildings.

Determine 3.27: This diamond mine is greater than 600 meters deep.

Placers are worthwhile minerals which have collected in stream gravels, both trendy rivers or historical riverbeds. California’s nickname, the Golden State, might be traced again to the invention of placer gold in 1848. The gold that attracted would-be miners from around the globe weathered out of a tough rock, travelled downstream after which settled in a deposit of alluvium. The gold originated within the metamorphic belt within the western Sierra Nevada, which additionally accommodates deposits of copper, lead zinc, silver, chromite and different worthwhile minerals. Presently, California has energetic mines for gold and silver, and likewise for non-metal minerals like sand and gravel, that are used for development.

Underground Mining[edit]

Underground mining is used for ores which are deep in Earth’s floor. For deep ore deposits, it may be too costly to take away the entire rocks above the ore. Underground mines might be very deep. The deepest gold mine in South Africa is greater than 3,700 meters deep! (That’s greater than 2 miles!) There are numerous strategies of underground mining. These strategies are dearer than floor mining as a result of tunnels are made within the rock in order that miners and tools can get to the ore. Underground mining is harmful work. Recent air and lights should even be introduced in to the tunnels for the miners. Miners breathe in a number of particles and dirt whereas they’re underground. The ore is drilled, blasted, or minimize away from the encompassing rock and brought out of the tunnels. Typically there are explosions and generally mines collapse as ore is being drilled or blasted.

Mining and the Atmosphere[edit]

Determine 3.28: Scientists check water that has been contaminated by a mine.

Mining supplies folks with many sources they want, however care must be taken to cut back the environmental affect of mining. After the mining is completed, the world across the mine is meant to be restored to its pure state. This technique of restoring the pure space known as reclamation. Native vegetation are planted. Pit mines could also be refilled or reshaped in order that they will change into pure areas once more. They might even be allowed to fill with water and change into lakes. They might even be become landfills. Underground mines could also be sealed off or left open as properties for bats.

Mining may cause air pollution. Chemical substances launched from mining can contaminate close by water sources. Determine 3.28 reveals water that’s contaminated from a close-by mine. America authorities has requirements that mines should observe to guard water high quality. It’s also vital to make use of mineral sources properly. It takes thousands and thousands of years for brand spanking new mineral deposits to kind in Earth, so they’re nonrenewable sources.

Making Metals from Minerals[edit]

Determine 3.29: The De Younger Museum in San Francisco is roofed in copper panels.

We depend on metals, similar to aluminum, copper, iron, and gold. Look across the room. What number of objects have steel elements? Bear in mind to incorporate something that makes use of electrical energy. Metals are used within the tiny elements inside your pc and on the skin of enormous constructing, such because the one proven in Determine 3.29. Whether or not the steel makes the aluminum can that you just drink out of or the copper wires in your pc, it began out as an ore. However the ore’s journey to turning into a usable steel is just simply starting when the ore leaves the mine.

Mining produces a mix of rocks that include ore and different rocks that don’t include ore. So, the ore have to be separated from undesirable rocks. Then, the minerals must be separated out of the ore. The work remains to be not performed as soon as the mineral is separated from the undesirable supplies.

Most minerals aren’t pure metals, however chemical compounds that include metals and different components. The minerals should undergo chemical reactions to make pure metals. To ensure that the reactions to occur, chemical compounds have to be added to ores which were melted. Excessive temperatures are wanted to soften ores. Take into consideration the methods you utilize aluminum foil in your house. It’s put into scorching ovens and over flames on a grill, nevertheless it doesn’t soften. Making aluminum requires plenty of vitality. Temperatures better than 900°C are wanted to make pure aluminum. Then, an enormous quantity of electrical energy is required to separate the aluminum from different components to provide pure aluminum. For those who recycle simply 40 aluminum cans, you’ll save the vitality in a single gallon of gasoline. We use over 80 billion cans every year. If all of those cans have been recycled, we’d save the vitality in 2 billion gallons of gasoline!

Gem stones and Their Makes use of[edit]

Some minerals are worthwhile as a result of they’re stunning. Jade has been used for hundreds of years in China. Native Individuals have been adorning objects with turquoise since historical instances. Minerals like jade, turquoise, diamonds, and emeralds are gems. A gemstone, or gem, is a fabric that’s minimize and polished to make use of in jewellery. Many gems, similar to these proven in Determine 3.30, are minerals.

Determine 3.30: Gem stones are available many colours.

Along with being stunning, gems are uncommon and don’t break or scratch simply. Typically, rarer gems are extra worthwhile. Different elements, similar to how in style the gem is, its measurement and the way in which it’s minimize also can have an effect on its worth.

Most gems aren’t used precisely as they’re present in nature. Gems are normally minimize and polished. Determine 3.31 reveals an uncut piece of ruby and a ruby that has been minimize and polished. The best way a mineral splits alongside a floor or cleaves determines how it may be minimize to provide clean surfaces. Discover that the minimize and polished ruby appears extra sparkly. Gems seem like sparkly as a result of gentle bounces again when it hits them. Some gentle passes by way of some gems, similar to rubies and diamond. These gems are minimize in order that essentially the most quantity of sunshine attainable bounces again. Mild doesn’t move by way of gems which are opaque, similar to turquoise. So, these gems aren’t minimize in the identical means as diamonds and rubies.

Ruby crystal.

Ruby crystal

Cut ruby.

Reduce ruby

Determine 3.31: Ruby is minimize and polished to make the gemstone sparkle.

Gem stones are identified for his or her use in jewellery, however they do produce other makes use of. Most diamonds are literally not used as gems. Diamonds are used to chop and polish different supplies, similar to glass and metals, as a result of they’re so exhausting. The mineral corundum, of which ruby and sapphire are varieties, is utilized in merchandise like sandpaper. Artificial rubies and sapphires are additionally utilized in lasers.

Different Helpful Minerals[edit]

Metals and gems are sometimes shiny, so that they catch your eye. Many minerals that we use on a regular basis aren’t so noticeable. For instance, the buildings in your block couldn’t have been constructed with out minerals. The partitions in your house may use the mineral gypsum for the sheetrock. The glass in your home windows is produced from sand, which is generally the mineral quartz. Talc was as soon as generally used to make child powder. The mineral halite is mined for rock salt. Diamond is used as a gemstone however is usually utilized in drill bits and noticed blades to enhance their chopping potential. Copper is utilized in electrical wiring and the ore bauxite is the supply for the aluminum in your soda can.

Lesson Abstract[edit]

  • Geologists use many strategies to search out mineral deposits that can be worthwhile to mine.
  • Ores which are near the floor are mined by floor mining strategies. Ores which are deep in Earth are mined utilizing underground strategies.
  • Steel ores have to be melted to make metals.
  • Many gems are minimize and polished to extend their magnificence.
  • Minerals are utilized in quite a lot of methods.

Evaluation Questions[edit]

  1. What sort of mining can be used to extract an ore that’s near the Earth’s floor?
  2. Describe some strategies utilized in floor mining.
  3. What are some disadvantages of underground mining?
  4. What are some methods an space might be reclaimed, or returned to its pure state, after being mined?
  5. What steps are taken to extract a pure steel from an ore?
  6. What makes a gemstone worthwhile?


Any materials that’s minimize and polished to make use of in jewellery.
A mineral deposit that accommodates sufficient minerals to be mined for revenue.

Factors to Contemplate[edit]

  • Are all mineral deposits ores?
  • An open-pit diamond mine could sooner or later be become an underground mine. Why would this occur?
  • Diamonds aren’t essentially the rarest gem. Why do folks worth diamonds greater than most different gems?

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