What is underground mining
When the minerals are found in rich veins but in large volumes of sterile rocks, the only way to mine them is the underground mining method. The material obtained, usually precious minerals or non-ferrous metals, are moved to the surface where they are subjected to grinding and concentration processes to benefit them and enrich them, separating the useful metal from the ore, from the accompanying or sterile mineral, called gangue.
What is open pit mining
On the other hand, open-pit mining also be called surface mining, is the most common mining and ranges from very low-priced minerals to finely disseminated gold deposits. When minerals and deposits are found close to the surface and spread across a large distance, the best way to mine is to use the open cut mining method. In this process, the area is cleared of all topsoil and vegetation, this material is stockpiled and used later when rehabilitating the area once mining is finished.
Differences between open pit and underground mining
- In surface mining, the ore is accessed directly from the Earth's surface, and contact is maintained with the surface throughout the operation.
- Underground or subsurface mining is accomplished with the help of tunnels going into the Earth, and does not occur on the surface.
- In surface mining, the topsoil and bedrock is removed to access the ore; all done from the surface.
- In underground mining, the bedrock is kept intact, and tunnels are used to access the ore from below.