Theimportance of mining is definitely significant toCanada. Mining, is an important industry, andCanadians are very advanced in their miningtechnology, but during the mining process, there iscertain level of pollution produced. The Canadiangovernment and the mining companies have verygood plans and controls toward this problem,while ensuring the smooth running of the industries,and also helping to create strong economy andemployment.
The world of today could not existwithout mineral products. Canada produces about60 minerals and ranks first among producingcountries1. As well, Canada is the largest exporterof minerals, with more than 20 per cent ofproduction shipped to world markets2. In atypical year, the mining industry is responsible foralmost 20 per cent of Canada’s total exportearnings3 (See Appendix A). As for theemployment rate, over 70 per cent of the minesare owned by Canadians and approximately108,000 Canadians are directly employed in themining industry4.
Mining is very important inCanadian life. Not only do the products power thefamily car and heat the family home, themanufacturing sector, the high tech industries andeven the better known resource industries are alldependent, in some way, on the mining industry. The mining industry will continue to be animportant support to the economy. Mining istaking full advantage of the quick expansion ofcomputers and microelectronics. Thesetechnologies are found in nearly every aspect ofmineral development activity – from explorationmethods, through production, mineral processingand even marketing.
Computers and relatedequipment now have a lot of different applicationsin geophysical logging, geochemistry, geologicalmapping and surface contouring5. At the mineplanning stage, the job of designing a mine is nowgreatly simplified by automation. Through the useof advanced software, geological models can beproduced from drill hole data. Computers are alsobeing used to develop plans for mine expansion,develop mining schedules for yearly, quarterly andin some cases, weekly operations.
At theoperating stage, this new technology iseverywhere6. Both in research and operationalapplications, automated mine monitoring systemsnow determine immediate information on the statusof equipment in underground or remote locations. Canada produces its 60 mineral products fromroughly 300 mines across the country7. Beforethese products can make the trip from mines to themarketplace, they must be searched for, staked,tested, analyzed, developed. There are manydifference methods to mine for minerals, an “openpit” mine is one of the method we use today.
Theore – waste material along with the minerals, isrecovered directly from the surface. Drilling rigsare used to drill holes into the ore areas andblasting charges will be set in them to break loosethe ore. The ore: first stop is at the primarycrushing station, often located underground, wherethe large chunks of ore are crushed to a finer size. Further crushing is required prior to sending theore to the mill where it is ground to a finepowder8. The purpose of crushing and grinding isto free the minerals from the rock.
Treatment mayconsist of gravity or chemical concentrationtechniques. The end product of the mill is aconcentrate, whereby the percentage of valuablemineral has been increased by a factor of 10 to asmuch as 50 times contained in the ore9. Theconcentration operation may be complicated orrelatively simple, depending on the mineral contentof the ore. Milling processes are designed toseparate the valuable minerals from the undesiredminerals.
Although the milling process separatesvaluable minerals from waste, it does not actuallyrecover the metals in final form. The smeltingoperation treats the metal-bearing concentratefurther, up-grading it to purer form called “matte”. Basically: The ore concentrates are mixed withother materials and treated at high temperatures tochange the material to other chemical forms. Themetal in the matte can be separated further. Further treatment is applied to the final purificationof the metal and finishing to the standards requiredin the metal-using industries. Mining, as weunderstanding, is a very important industry.
Butthere are underlying dangers to our environment. Mining companies and the government haverealized this problem, and regulations and controlshave been applied to it. The major environmentalproblem usually results from the processing andtransportation of mineral products rather than fromthe actual mining process. Example: when an oilspill has occurred in the ocean, the problemcaused to the environment is very big, becausegallons of oil is spilling over the ocean’s surface,resulting in the death of many ocean organisms,and in the pollution of the ocean. (See AppendixB) In this article, it shows how much an oil spillcan endanger the environment.
To prevent thisproblem, special attention is given by the captainto watch out