There are many types of minerals in the world, each of which has its own properties, and is mined in different ways. People use them for various purposes, but one thing is known for sure the survival of civilization depends on them.
Types of minerals
In general, 6 types of minerals can be distinguished:
- Stones and gems;
- Mining and chemical raw materials.
Fossil fuels energy sources created as a result of the extinction of ancient ecosystems. Coal, oil and natural gas typically fall under this category. These resources were originally formed as a result of photosynthesis by living organisms such as plants, phytoplankton, algae and cyanobacteria. Today, humanity uses fossil fuels to produce most of the world’s energy.
Oil is primarily produced from organic-rich shallow marine sediments where the remains of micro-organisms such as plankton accumulate in fine-grained sediments. Conventional oil and gas that is pumped from the reservoir is not the only way to get hydrocarbons.
There are unconventional fuel sources that are becoming increasingly important today as traditional sources are depleted. This can include oil sands sandstones that contain oil products with high viscosity, so they cannot be drilled and pumped out of the ground, like ordinary oil. Oil from them can only be extracted by heating and mixing with solvents.
Coal is mined from petrified swamps, although some older coal deposits, predating land plants, are thought to have formed from algal deposits.
Coal is composed primarily of carbon, hydrogen, nitrogen, sulfur, and oxygen, with small amounts of other elements. Since the basis is plant material, heat and pressure cause a number of changes that increase the combustibility of coal. Thus, the more heat and pressure an organic is exposed to, the greater its carbon concentration and fuel value, and the more expensive it is.
Mineral resources are divided into two main categories: metallic, which contain metals, and non-metallic, which contain other useful materials. Much of the mining industry has traditionally been focused on the extraction of metal minerals. Humanity has made significant progress because we have developed technologies to extract metal from the bowels of the earth.
This knowledge allowed humans to build the machines, buildings, and money systems that dominate our world today. The discovery and extraction of these metals has been a key aspect of geological research since its inception.
Non-metallic mineral resources, also known as industrial minerals, receive much less attention but are just as vital to society as metallic minerals. The simplest among them is building stone. Limestone, travertine, granite, slate and marble are the most common building stones that have been quarried for centuries. Even today building stones are very popular. Highly pure limestone is crushed, processed and turned into gypsum, cement and concrete.
Gemstones are minerals or rocks that can be cut, shaped and polished into beautiful gems used in jewelry and collectibles. A stone is worth more money if it is perfect. Most gemstones are minerals. Some organic materials, such as amber and coral, are also considered gemstones, although they are not considered minerals. Gemstones can withstand any test of time as they are resistant to chemical changes, are hard enough to keep a good shine, and are very difficult to crack or break. Common types of gemstones are emerald, ruby and sapphire.
Physical properties provided the basis for the classification of minerals in the Middle Ages. Minerals were grouped according to characteristics such as hardness, so that diamond and corundum belonged to the same mineral class. As the ability to determine the chemical composition of minerals developed, so did a new classification system. Many scientists have contributed to the discovery of the chemical formulas of minerals, but James Dwight Dana, grouped minerals according to their anions, such as oxides, silicates, and sulfates.
However, physical properties are still the main means of identifying deposits. Grouping based on composition highlights some common mineral associations that allow geologists to make educated guesses about which ones are present in a rock, even at a glance. By far the most common are silicates, which make up 90% of the earth’s crust.
The discovery of new ore deposits depends on the ability of geologists to identify what they see in the field and recognize unusual occurrences of minerals that should be investigated in more detail in the laboratory. A hand magnifier, a penknife and a lot of practice still provide the easiest and cheapest methods for identifying minerals.
Features of minerals
The most common deposits in the earth’s crust can often be identified in the field by basic physical properties such as color, shape, and hardness.
The most obvious property of a fossil, its color, unfortunately, will reveal the least amount of information needed about it. For example, some fossils are green olivine, epidote and actinolite, and this is only a small part of them. On the other hand, one mineral can contain several different colors if there are impurities in the chemical composition, such as quartz, which can be transparent, smoky, pink, purple or yellow. That is, color should be considered in identification, but it should never be used as the main identification characteristic.
The external form of a mineral is largely determined by its internal atomic structure, which means that this property can tell a lot of information about the subject. Some of them, such as halite and pyrite, are cubic; others, such as tourmaline, are prismatic.
In general, in order to have one form or another, the same crystal must have enough space to grow. If it grew in conditions of magma cooling, where space is extremely limited, the shape can change.
The hardness of a mineral can be tested in several ways. Most often, minerals are compared with an object of known hardness, with the help of scratching if a nail, for example, can scratch a crystal, then the nail is harder than this mineral.
In the early 1800s, Friedrich Moos, an Austrian mineralogist, developed a scale for relative hardness based on the scratch test. He assigned integer numbers to each mineral, where 10 is the softest and 1 is the hardest. This scale is shown in the following list:
Despite the lack of accuracy of the Mohs scale, it remains useful because it is simple, easy to remember and hardness can be easily checked with it. Differences in hardness make minerals useful for different purposes. The softness of calcite makes it a popular material for sculpture (marble is made entirely of calcite), while the hardness of diamond means it can be used as an abrasive to polish stone.
The brilliance of a mineral is determined by how well it reflects light. It may be hard to understand, but imagine the difference between how light bounces off a glass window and how it bounces off a shiny chrome car bumper. A mineral that reflects light in the same way as glass has a vitreous luster; a mineral that reflects light like chromium has a metallic luster. Many additional gloss options available, including pearlescent, waxy, and resinous. Fossils that are as reflective as diamond have a diamond luster. With a little practice, the brilliance will be as easy for you to recognize as the color, and it can be quite a distinguishing feature, especially for minerals that occur in multiple colors, such as quartz.
Splitting and fracture
Most minerals contain inherent weaknesses in their atomic structures a region along which the strength of atomic bonds is lower than that of the surroundings. When struck with a hammer, the mineral tends to shatter along the plane of this weakness. This type of break is called a split, and the quality of the split depends on the strength of the bonds. Biotite, for example, has layers of extremely weak hydrogen bonds that break very easily, so it is believed that it has perfect adhesion.
Some minerals do not have planes of weakness in their atomic structure. These minerals do not have cleavage, they break unevenly, such breaks are called cracks. Their ruptures can be characterized as granular, chopped (serrated), conchoidal (curved), or splintered.
Quartz cracks in a manner called conchoidal, which forms a concave surface with a series of arcuate ribs, similar to how glass cracks. In fact, for quartz, the absence of cleavage is a distinctive property.
How well a mineral resists breakage is called strength. Persistence is described using the following terms:
Other diagnostic features
Mining is defined as the activity associated with the search, extraction and processing of metals, minerals and other geological resources that are necessary in the economy and economy. This industry includes five main segments:
one. Oil and gas extraction: production of oil and natural gas to heat homes, cars and power plants.
2. Coal mining: extracts coal, a fossil fuel used primarily for electricity and steel production.
3. Mining of metal ores: mining of metal ores, mainly gold, silver, iron, copper, lead and zinc, used for the production of jewelry, electronics and steel.
four. Mining of non-metallic minerals: covers a wide range of mining and produces crushed stone, sand and gravel for the construction of roads and buildings.
5. Ancillary activities for the mining industry: work performed by contractors in the mining industry. For example, quarrying or large-scale mining.
The mining process dates back to prehistoric times. Prehistoric people first mined flint, which was ideal for making tools and weapons as it shattered into sharp-edged fragments. The mining of gold and copper also dates back to prehistoric times.
The two main categories of modern mining are open pit mining and underground mining. In open pit mining, the ground is blown up so that ore can be extracted near the surface of the ground and transported to processing plants for the extraction of minerals. Open pit mining is destructive to the surrounding landscape leaving huge craters. In underground mining, ores are extracted from the depths of the earth. Miners tunnel through rock to reach ore deposits.
Extraction consists of two operations: exploration of the desired resource and the extraction process itself. Exploration is usually carried out by small companies or individual entrepreneurs. Mining is carried out by very large, sometimes multinational companies, since the creation of a modern mine requires significant capital investments and technologies.
Technology has played an increasingly important role in the industry, reducing the amount of workforce needed to operate. The steel industry has particularly benefited from this, with some companies cutting their workforce by 90 percent.
The environmental impact has long been a concern for the industry. First, mining exposes sulfides in the soil. When rainwater or streams dissolve sulfides, they form acids. This acidic water harms plants and animals. Along with acid mine drainage, the removal of mine waste can also lead to severe water pollution with toxic metals. Toxic metals commonly found in mine waste, such as arsenic and mercury, are harmful to human and wildlife health if they enter nearby streams.
Along with accidents in mines, this industry can also lead to health problems for workers and the population of surrounding regions. Inhalation of dust particles from mining can lead to lung disease. One of the most common forms is the black lung that occurs when miners inhale coal dust. Many other types of mining emit quartz dust, which, similarly to coal, settles on the lungs. These are incurable diseases that cause breathing problems and can be fatal.
Many countries require mining companies to comply with strict environmental regulations to prevent erosion, sinkholes, groundwater pollution and biodiversity loss. There are provisions concerning the restoration of land to its former or better condition.
A Mineral Reserve is the economically recoverable portion of a Measured or Indicated Mineral Resource. This category includes diluting materials and allowances for losses that may occur during the extraction or extraction of material, and are determined by studies. Such studies indicate that, at the time of writing, retrieval could reasonably be justified.
Mineral reserves are subdivided in order of increasing reliability of being in the subsoil into probable mineral reserves or proven mineral reserves.
Probable mineral reserves
Includes dilution materials and allowances for tonnage losses that may occur during material operation. Determination of probable reserves is based on estimates, which may include a preliminary feasibility study or feasibility study, including production parameters, metallurgical, technological, economic, commercial, legal, environmental, infrastructure and other factors.
Proved mineral reserves
It is the economically viable or recoverable portion of a Measured Mineral Resource, the feasibility of which has been established with a high degree of certainty, taking into account modifying factors. Appropriate assessments have already been made at this stage, which may include feasibility studies as well as considerations and modifications due to soundly accepted mining, metallurgical, economic, market, legal, environmental, social and government factors. These estimates indicate that, as of the date of the report, production can be reasonably justified.