The Importance of Mining Industry


The importance of mining is definitely significant to Canada.
Mining, is an important industry, and Canadians are very advanced
in their mining technology, but during the mining process, there
is certain level of pollution produced. The Canadian government
and the mining companies have very good plans and controls toward
this problem, while ensuring the smooth running of the
industries, and also helping to create strong economy and
employment.

The world of today could not exist without mineral products.
Canada produces about 60 minerals and ranks first among producing
countries1. As well, Canada is the largest exporter of minerals,
with more than 20 per cent of production shipped to world
markets2. In a typical year, the mining industry is responsible
for almost 20 per cent of Canada\'s total export earnings3 (See
Appendix A). As for the employment rate, over 70 per cent of the
mines are owned by Canadians and approximately 108,000 Canadians
are directly employed in the mining industry4. Mining is very
important in Canadian life. Not only do the products power the
family car and heat the family home, the manufacturing sector,
the high tech industries and even the better known resource
industries are all dependent, in some way, on the mining
industry. The mining industry will continue to be an important
support to the economy.

Mining is taking full advantage of the quick expansion of
computers and microelectronics. These technologies are found in
nearly every aspect of mineral development activity - from
exploration methods, through production, mineral processing and
even marketing. Computers and related equipment now have a lot
of different applications in geophysical logging, geochemistry,
geological mapping and surface contouring5. At the mine planning
stage, the job of designing a mine is now greatly simplified by
automation. Through the use of advanced software, geological
models can be produced from drill hole data. Computers are also
being used to develop plans for mine expansion, develop mining
schedules for yearly, quarterly and in some cases, weekly
operations. At the operating stage, this new technology is
everywhere6. Both in research and operational applications,
automated mine monitoring systems now determine immediate
information on the status of equipment in underground or remote
locations.

Canada produces its 60 mineral products from roughly 300 mines
across the country7. Before these products can make the trip
from mines to the marketplace, they must be searched for, staked,
tested, analyzed, developed. There are many difference methods
to mine for minerals, an "open pit" mine is one of the method we
use today. The ore - waste material along with the minerals, is
recovered directly from the surface. Drilling rigs are used to
drill holes into the ore areas and blasting charges will be set
in them to break loose the ore. The ore: first stop is at the
primary crushing station, often located underground, where the
large chunks of ore are crushed to a finer size. Further
crushing is required prior to sending the ore to the mill where
it is ground to a fine powder8. The purpose of crushing and
grinding is to free the minerals from the rock. Treatment may
consist of gravity or chemical concentration techniques.
The end product of the mill is a concentrate, whereby the
percentage of valuable mineral has been increased by a factor of
10 to as much as 50 times contained in the ore9. The
concentration operation may be complicated or relatively simple,
depending on the mineral content of the ore. Milling processes
are designed to separate the valuable minerals from the undesired
minerals. Although the milling process separates valuable
minerals from waste, it does not actually recover the metals in
final form. The smelting operation treats the metal-bearing
concentrate further, up-grading it to purer form called "matte".
Basically: The ore concentrates are mixed with other materials
and treated at high temperatures to change the material to other
chemical forms. The metal in the matte can be separated further.
Further treatment is applied to the final purification of the
metal and finishing to the standards required in the metal-using
industries.

Mining, as we understanding, is a very important industry. But
there are underlying dangers to our environment. Mining
companies and the government have realized this problem, and
regulations and controls have been applied to it. The major
environmental problem usually results from the processing and
transportation of mineral products rather than from the actual
mining process. Example: when an oil spill has occurred in the
ocean, the problem caused to the environment is very big, because
gallons 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 Appendix B) In this article, it shows how much
an oil spill