Mineral Resources

Mineral Resources

Intended
Learning Outcomes

At the end of this session, students will be able to

• Explain mineral Resources

• Discuss the use and exploitation of mineral Resources

• Describe the environmental effects of extracting and using
mineral resources

Contents

• Mineral Resources

• Use and exploitation

• Environmental effects of extracting and using mineral
resources

• Mineral is a naturally occurring substance of definite
chemical composition and identifiable physical properties

• An ore is a mineral or combination of minerals from which
a useful substance, such as a metal can be extracted and used to manufacture a
useful product

• Minerals are formed over a period of millions of years in
the earth’s crust

• Iron, aluminum, zinc, manganese and copper are important
raw materials for industrial use

• Important non-metal resources include coal, salt, clay,
cement and silica

• Stone used for building material, such as granite, marble,
limestone, constitute another category of minerals

• Minerals with special properties that humans value for
their aesthetic and ornamental value are gems such as diamonds, emeralds,
rubies

• Luster of gold, silver and platinum is used for ornaments

• Minerals in the form of oil, gas and coal were formed when
ancient plants and animals were converted into underground fossil fuels

• Minerals and their ores need to be extracted from the
earth’s interior so that they can be used

• This process is known as mining

• Mining operations generally progress through four stages:

(1) Prospecting: Searching for minerals

(2) Exploration: Assessing the size, shape, location and
economic value of the deposit

(3) Development: Work of preparing access to the deposit so
that the minerals can be extracted from it

(4) Exploitation: Extracting the minerals from the mines

• Today, however, prospecting and exploration is done by
teams of geologists, mining engineers, geophysicists and geochemists who work
together to discover new deposits

• Modern prospecting methods include the use of
sophisticated instruments like GIS to survey and study the geology of the area

• Mines are of two types – surface (open cut or strip mines)
or deep or shaft mines

• Coal, metals and non-metalliferous minerals are all mined
differently depending on the above criteria

• Most minerals need to be processed before they become
usable

• Thus ‘technology’ is dependent on both the presence of
resources and the energy necessary to make them ‘usable’

Mine safety

• Mining  is  a 
hazardous  occupation  and 
safety  of  mine 
workers  is  an important environmental consideration of
the industry

• Surface mining is less hazardous than underground mining

• Metal mining is less hazardous than coal mining

• In all underground mines, rock and roof falls, flooding
and inadequate ventilation are the greatest hazards

• Large explosions have occured in coal mines

• Mining poses several long-term occupational hazards to the
miners

Environmental
problems

• Mining operations are considered one of the main sources of
environmental degradation

• Extraction of all these products from the lithosphere has
a variety of side effects

• Depletion of available land due to mining, waste from
industries, conversion of land to industry and pollution of land, water and air
by industrial wastes are environmental side effects of the use of these non-
renewable resources

• Public awareness of this problem is of a global nature and
government actions to stem the damage to the natural environment have led to
numerous international agreements and laws directed toward the prevention of
activities and events that may adversel affect the environment

Summary

• Mineral is a naturally occurring substance of definite
chemical composition and identifiable physical properties

• Minerals with special properties that humans value for
their aesthetic and ornamental value are gems such as diamonds, emeralds,
rubies

• Modern prospecting methods include the use of
sophisticated instruments like GIS to survey and study the geology of the area

• Surface mining is less hazardous than underground mining

• Mining operations are considered one of the main sources
of environmental degradation

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