Albany, NY -- (SBWIRE) -- 07/08/2014 -- The mining industry finds itself in a new era due to global economic and political trends. Strengthening demand for primary resources predominately from emerging economies has taken up the mining industry to a new level. Underground mining allows coal extracting companies to explore and extract deeper coal reserves and is viewed as less destructive than strip mining. In pillar and room mines coal columns are left to support the ground during the initial stage of mining, later they are also extracted and the mine is left for collapsing and this process is called subsidence. In long wall mines shearer extracts the coal from the mines. The support structures that enable the extraction through shearer are removed in later stage and mine is left for collapsing. Ores such as oil, shale gas, limestone’s rock salts, metals and clay are usually extracted through mining.
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The ever increasing demand for energy and other minerals due to urbanization & population growth and improvement in the mining techniques are the major driver for the growth of the underground mining market. Developed economies as well as emerging economies such as China and India present a huge demand outlay for the mining industry. Huge capital investment and environmental clearances are the major constraints for the underground mining. Technological advancement such as mining giant Rio Tinto developing new mining techniques and tracing new coal reserves worldwide brings new opportunities to the new market players to invest in the underground mining industry.
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The underground mining market can be segmented on the types of techniques used in mining. Room and pillar mining is the universal method of underground mining. The roofs of the mines are supported by pillars and areas spaced out at predefined intervals in coal rooms. Continuous and conventional mining are the two types of room and pillar mining. Long wall mining is a bit more modern method of extracting coal from underground mines. Initially this technique was developed to replace room and pillar mining and it includes mechanized removal of the long panel of coal from a coal bed using long wall mining equipment such as coal shearers. Cut and fill stopping is a technique of underground mining and is used in perpendicular stopes in mining high grade uneven ore bodies. The rock surrounding the coal deposit is generally weak and is unable to support the coal loads over a widen height. The name of this technique implies, cutting of the ore into parallel slices, done preliminary from the base of the stope and comes toward the surface. The parallel slices provide voids that are backfilled with the material to provide mine support until complete coal is extracted from the mine.
Borehole mining is a distant remote controlled technique of underground mining and is used to mine a wider range of industrial materials and natural resources. Bore hole mining consist two pipes, one delivering a high pressure stream and another pipe delivers slurry back to surface. Shaft mining is a technique for underground mining in which shafts are driven vertically from the top into the earth to access ore. This technique is an ideal technique for concentrated mining deposits such as coal and iron.
In the Asia Pacific region, maximum number of underground mines of minerals such as silver, coal, gold and copper are present in Australia. Ireland and Sweden are having maximum underground mines in the European region. Canada is having the maximum number of underground mines in the North American region as well as across the globe. The North American region is the foremost favorable location for the underground mining players to invest in the market.
Some of the key players in the underground mining industry are BHP Billiton Ltd., Vale, Rio Tinto, China Shenhua, Xstrata, Anglo American, Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold. Inc, Barrick Gold Corporation, Potash Corp and Coal India Ltd among others.
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