There’s a whole slew of important factors to consider before the layout of a quarry or mining complex is finalised. Before a single digger or explosive charge is sent forth, feasibility studies are conducted. This initial planning stage helps the development by determining the best possible excavation method. That’s just the beginning, of course, for there are many other tasks to organise.
This is a mechanically oriented article, but we can’t afford to overlook the basic documents that allow quarry and mining layouts to legally proceed. There’s the buying of the land, plus an environmental impact study to conduct. Various permits will require logging, and all of this bureaucratic work needs to be properly completed before a single layer of dirt is lifted.
Transportation routes are being established. There are massive bucket trucks and railway lines to build. The temporary roadways require lighting and a reliable surface covering. Management offices, power supplies, support equipment, all of these services are part of the layout, although they’re considered auxiliary or intermediary line segments, not true mineral processing services.
The geologist’s work is done. The lawyers sit with these mineral experts, perhaps finalising a few permits. Next, there’s an exploratory drilling procedure to oversee. The erection of the plant gear begins. Stockpiling areas are determined. The layout proper has begun. Depending on the types of mineral excavated, the quarrying or mining material trapped in the site, a rock breaking strategy must be initiated. Self-propelled cutting equipment, tools that tower over the workers, attack the rock face at this front line area.
The layout now reverses the direction of the process by carrying the excavated material back to the waiting trucks. Back on the front line, the primary crushers are downsizing the aggregate. Decks of screens and their reciprocating motors are presorting the precious commodities, perhaps with the aid of a dewatering mechanism. Quarried and mined life continues like this, always cycling the bored rock pieces upwards and away for further processing.
Grid-like structures stand out invisibly when designers look at their constructs. They see the room and pillar layouts, the longwall mines and open quarries. Those same eyes see drainage systems and conveyor belt routes. Indeed quarry and mining plant layout design is a unique discipline, but it’s one that submits to the intelligence of an expert engineer. Once exhausted, the land is reclaimed, maybe by simply collapsing the pillars. Again, the environmental impact study must follow up this procedure by correcting any subsidence caused by the reclamation phase.