The Art and Science of Mining

CIM Bulletin, 1970

A. IGNATIEFF, Deputy Director, Mines Branch, Dept. of Energy, Mines and Resources, Ottawa, Canada

Excavation, the principal mining process, 'which hitherto has been based largely on the intuition and logic of mining men, is increasingly receiving the attention of engineers and scientists versed in rock mechanics. The paper introduce the principles of t his science in simplified form, directed both to underground and open-pit mining. Reference is made to the large annual tonnage from ore and rock excavations, which in 1967 were responsible for 250 million tons of mineral production in Canada. The urge to transform excavation into a continuous instead of an interrupted process is discussed with references to the various types of energies employed or proposed in rock breakage or excavation. Due to the rapid decay of applied energy in the discontinuous and heterogeneous rock environment, large confined blasts proposed for in-situ mining do not give much expectation of success as yet. Raises and ventilating s hafts are already bored in reasonably hard rock. Tunnelling machines will be used for drifting and cross-cutting in the future, but continuous mining machines of the cuttmg and shearing type are not 'around the corner' for stoping typical orebodies. On the other hand, bed mining, particularly of coal, has led the way in continuous minmg, and Remotely Operated Longwall Face (ROLF) experiments are progressing in an encouraging way. Some reflections on the mining environment in relation to the human element are made.
Keywords: Canadian Mining Journal, mining engineer, open-pit, rock mechanics, Western Canada, excavation, Mine, Mines, mining, Rock, rock mechanics, Rocks