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3.3. Extraction of minerals and rocks

Extraction of minerals and rocks

The deposits are the places where there are minerals and rocks of geological interest. Deposit (paleontological) is also used to refer to the place where fossils appear or deposit (archaeological) to the place where there is a large concentration of archaeological remains.

Normally, the term (mining) deposit is used to speak of an accumulation of minerals whose exploitation is economically profitable with current technology. Therefore, a deposit can cease to be a deposit if conditions change. If it ceases to be profitable because it is cheaper to import it from another country, or because that mineral ceases to be industrially interesting, it will cease to be a deposit. In the same way, if the cost of extraction decreases or that mineral gains industrial interest, it will become profitable again.

The minerals that are to be extracted are called ore, while the rest of the rocks and minerals that accompany them and that are not of interest are called gangue.

Drilling and other Earth survey methods are used to locate these mineral deposits. If it is found that the exploitation can be profitable, these materials will be extracted.

Farms can be:

  • Surface holdings. If the rocks or minerals are shallow, it is excavated to reach them. Their environmental impact is usually significant. There are several types:
  • Underground holdings. If the mineral is very deep, vertical conduits (wells) and horizontal (galleries) are made until reaching it.