Copyright 2001, Charles E. Ophardt



 Text: Chap 2 p. 42-56

Use of metals that are mined - metals in an electric light bulb - metals mined in Nevada
How many mined resources do you use?

What Mining Means to Americans
Expanding Demand for Minerals and Energy


 1. Origin of Mineral Resources (ores) and distribution  Resource is anything we get from living and nonliving environment to meet our needs and wants.
Nonrenewable , or exhaustible, resources exist in a fixed amount in the Earth's crust.
Mineral resources include: energy resources (coal, oil, natural gas, uranium, geothermal);
Metallic minerals : iron, copper, aluminum, etc.;
Nonmetallic minerals: salt, gypsum, clay, sand phosphates, soil, water.
Renewable Resources: Those that potentially can last indefinitely because it is replaced as or more rapidly than it is used. Examples include solar energy, trees in forests, grasses in grasslands, wild animals, fresh surface water in lakes and streams, fresh air, and fertile soil. If the natural replenishment rate is exceeded beyond a sustainable yield, the resource becomes nonrenewable and leads to environmental degradation.

 A. Rock Cycle - Processes that make rocks and minerals

Igneous, Sedimentary, Metamorphic

  Text p.43-44
 B. Formation and Concentration of mineral resources

Magmatic concentration - molten rock stratifies by gravity as it cools and concentrates metals
Hydrothermal solutions in late stages of cooling magma- sulfides of Pb, Cu, Ag, Zn, Au
Black smokers undersea hot springs - sulfide ores
Sedimentation - minerals dissolve in warm water and reprecipitate in cooler water
Brines/seawater; laterites-weathering in the tropics - oxides of Fe, Al, Mn, Ni;
Placer deposits from eroded rocks carried to streams
Evaporites - from sea water - salt gypsum, potash. soda ash (sodium sulfate), phosphates

List of Minerals - Brief uses, pictures, may be slow to Load

 C. Ores

High grade (high percentage of metal)

Low grade (very low percentage of metal)
Ores in the form of sulfides or oxides mixed with silicates. Low grade ores become uneconomical if the time, effort, cost, high energy needed and costs, amount of waste material - do not yield a selling price to recover the costs.

 2. Reserves, Economic resources, Depletion Time Text p.55 Identified resources - known location, quantity, and quality
Reserves - are identified resources that can be extracted economically at present prices & technology
Undiscovered - potential supplies based upon geologic knowledge, but location and quantity unknown.
 A. Location of Reserves imports from many countries  Mining Exploration

 B. Critical and strategic minerals:

Cr, Mn, Co, Al, Ta, Sn, Pt, Pd

Text p. 54 

 Mining Works For You

 C. Mining low grade deposits requires larger amounts of energy, more tailings, more water  Mining Works For You
 D. Minerals from the sea water and ocean floor  

3. Extraction and Concentration Methods
 A. Subsurface or underground mining

 Mining Methods and Techniques

Types of Coal Mining w/pictures

 B. Surface or strip mining - (same as open cut mining)  Mining Methods and Techniques
 C. Concentration of ore  Use physical and chemical methods to increase concentration of metal, leaching of low grade ores.
 D. Impact on the Environment

 Mining is one of the most environmentally damaging activities carried out by humans. In the United States mining produces at least six times the amount of solid waste produced by towns and cities.
Overburden, tailings, acid mine drainage, more acid mine drainage, leaching of other metals from tailings, erosion/sedimentation, landslides, tailings dam failure, reclamation.

In-situ Copper Mining - Florence, AZ - no surface mining, but weak acid in injected into wells and recoverd in other wells. The rock is not moved.


 QUESTION: Use the internet sites on the right and take a side in the issue

"Should more of the Public/U.S. Government owned lands be opened up for mining?

YES or NO Give reasons. Consider the uses and benefits of the metals obtained in mining and also possible environmental effects of mining.

What are Public Lands?
More on Public Lands

Mining Law of 1872 - still in effect!
More facts on the Mining law.

YES - Minerals for our Future
Mining the Bedrock of America
Demand for Mining
Metals, Mining, and You Index - includes the three above - plus more if you have time
Responsible Mining - a contribution from Rob Vugteveen Director, Asarco Mineral Discovery Center
National Mining Association

In-situ Copper Mining - Florence, AZ - no surface mining, but weak acid in injected into wells and recoverd in other wells. The rock is not moved.

NO - Proposed Gold Mine Near Yellowstone National Park
Yellowstone Gold Mine
The Yellowstone Mine was stopped by the U.S. government buying the mining rights - no linger an active issue.

Crandon Mine in Wisconsin
EPA on the Crandon Mine

Gold Mine at Buckhorn Mountain, Washington


 Some General Questions that you might consider:

1. location and sources of the ore (how was the ore formed over geologic time?),

2. methods to purify or concentrate the ore (give some chemistry names and/or formulas of the processes),

3. reduction methods to obtain the metal form from the compound ion form,

4. uses of the metal,

5. and environmental impacts of mining and processing into the metal.


 A. C. Buehler Library
Elmhurst College

Also you may Check out "Reference Sources", then "Access Science" - McGraw Hill Online Encyclopedia of Science and Technology

4. General Methods to Convert Ore to Metals

 A. Iron and steel Iron ores (35-65% Fe):

Ores: Hematite (Fe2O3); magnetite (Fe3O4); siderite (FeCO3); limonite (FeO(OH))
Locations: Pennsylvania, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Alabama. Also need coal and limestone

Reduction of ore by heat and carbon to Fe

 ProfO Notes: Blast Furnace and process explanation

If short on time look at the first two of following references:
Western Australia Iron Ore Industry - gives a good explanation of mining, iron ore processing, and environmental effects
Iron Fact Sheet
Burns Harbor, IN - Bethlehem Steel list of products
Australian Steel Making Explains the various processes for making steel

 B. Copper (0.6-1% Cu):

Locations: Utah, Arizona, Chile

Copper ores many:
chalcopyrite (CuFeS2); Chalcocite (Cu2S); Malachite Cu2CO3(OH)2; azurite (Cu(CO3)2(OH)2

 Bingham Copper Mine photo - largest copper mine in the world.

Roasting or smelting , air oxidation of sulfides; hydrometallurgy; electrolysis

History and Modern Methods to Extract Copper from ore

ProfO Notes: Copper ore to metal process explanation.
ProfO Notes: Copper Mine and Smelter graphics

Asarco Mineral Discovery Center
Mining Copper - A virtual tour of all phases of mining operations courtesy of Asarco Mineral Discovery Center

Copper Fact Sheet

Western Australia's Base Metal Industry Cu, Zn, Pb
Copper Production - From Ore to Finished Products

Electrolytic Processes of Metals - Cu and Al. Go towards the end of the page for copper

 C. Aluminum p. 188-189, 234-245

Ores: Bauxite (50-60% Al)-clay mixture of hydrous oxides of Al; mixed with orange iron oxides

Location: Western Hemisphere 70% - Arkansas, Jamaica, Surinam, British Guiana

Chemical concentration of metal oxide ; electrolysis - 1 pop can = 300 watt-hr or 1000 kcal

ProfO Notes: Bauxite to Aluminum Process Explanation.

Western Australia's Bauxite-Alumina Industry
Aluminum Fact Sheet
Chemical Processing of Jamaican Bauxite - usually slow to load, but has good information.
Reynolds Metal Company - Longview, WA Aluminum Plant - Explains the process of changing purified bauxite into aluminum metal
Electrolytic Processes of Metals - Cu and Al Go to about the middle of the page for Al

 D. Gold Mining Western Australia Gold mining explanation.
Gold Fact Sheet
The Gold Institute
The Gold Institute - Mining and the Environment
 E. Lead Lead Fact Sheet from Australia
 F. Zinc Zinc Fact Sheet from Australia
 G. Titanium Titanium Dioxide production
Ti- Pure Dupont - uses of
 Magnesium  Magnesium Fact Sheet
 H. Tin Tin Fact Sheet 
 I. Silver  Silver Fact Sheet
 J. Nickel  Nickel Fact Sheet