Exploring Mining Landscapes: Reconciling Past and Present of Mining Activity

A special issue of Minerals (ISSN 2075-163X). This special issue belongs to the section "Mineral Deposits".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 May 2022) | Viewed by 21102

Special Issue Editor


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Guest Editor
Prospecting and Mining Research Area, Higher Technical School of Mining Engineering, University of León, 24071 León, Spain
Interests: mineral prospecting; geology of ore deposits; mineral prospection; mining geomorphology; geoarchaeology; remote sensing; UAVs; LiDAR
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

The recent growth of technological applications has led to the rapid expansion and development of the mining sector at a rate never seen before. Remote sensing technologies based on LiDAR- and UAVs-derived data have efficiently contributed to changes in the mining prospection and research fields. These methods enable the rapid mapping of potential mining sectors in remote or densely vegetated areas, promoting improved, more efficient, and more secure exploitation practices. Furthermore, the combination of new technologies and historical research sheds light on the study of ore bodies and the evolution of mining practices. Historical mining sectors provide vital information for the exploration of ore bodies, leading to the discovery of some of the most outstanding mines, such as those in the Pyrite Belt in Spain, the iron mines in Wales, and the gold mines in California. This Special Issue aims to publish original work and reviews focused on different technologies and sensors implemented to explore past and current mining scenarios. In addition, the development of prospection methods and analysis of mining landforms and other anthropic remains based on remote sensing, geologic or geomorphologic information that aims to identify potential exploitation sectors are also welcome.

Dr. Javier Fernández Lozano
Guest Editor

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Keywords

  • UAVs
  • LiDAR
  • remote sensing
  • mining
  • mining heritage
  • archaeomining
  • mineral prospection
  • ore bodies exploration
  • GIS tools
  • UAV electromagnetic
  • UAV sonar
  • mining geology
  • mining geomorphology
  • environmental mining management

Published Papers (8 papers)

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Editorial

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2 pages, 187 KiB  
Editorial
Editorial for Special Issue “Exploring Mining Landscapes: Reconciling Past and Present of Mining Activity”
by Javier Fernández-Lozano
Minerals 2022, 12(7), 840; https://doi.org/10.3390/min12070840 - 30 Jun 2022
Viewed by 859
Abstract
The first mining compendium, edited by Georg Bauer, also known as G. Agricola, was published in 1556, providing the basis of mining and metallurgical processing methods for almost two centuries [...] Full article

Research

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19 pages, 6308 KiB  
Article
Analysis of Mining-Induced Delayed Surface Subsidence
by Krzysztof Tajduś, Anton Sroka, Rafał Misa, Stefan Hager, Janusz Rusek, Mateusz Dudek and Frank Wollnik
Minerals 2021, 11(11), 1187; https://doi.org/10.3390/min11111187 - 26 Oct 2021
Cited by 17 | Viewed by 1843
Abstract
The topic of residual subsidence is important in Europe as it defines possible surface deformation for closed mine areas. It has to be determined because of potential financial claims and damages of sensitive objects such as satellite dishes, precision mechanics objects, agriculture, forestry [...] Read more.
The topic of residual subsidence is important in Europe as it defines possible surface deformation for closed mine areas. It has to be determined because of potential financial claims and damages of sensitive objects such as satellite dishes, precision mechanics objects, agriculture, forestry and hydrogeology, etc. Analyses of measured subsidence after the end of mining exploitation indicate that this process can last from several months to several dozen or even several hundred years, and the final surface subsidence is not known. It is dependent on the individual’s features of excavated medium, depth of exploitation, a system of exploitation, behaviour of surrounding rock masses, etc. In the article, the authors analysed the assessment of the subsidence process after the end of mining operations, based on the innovative method. This concerns the duration of the subsidence process and the size of the expected subsidence. The methodology was applied to the RAG Aktiengesellschaft company project where prognostic calculations were made for seven closed coal mines using unique results of precise height measurements carried out for more than 90 years by the German State Office for National Measurements (Landesvermessungsamt NRW) under the so-called levelling measurements net. These measurements are carried out every 2 years and serve to keep the altitude network in the whole state of Rhineland Westphalia up-to-date. The result of the prognosis for one case study, German mine Auguste-Victoria, is presented in the article. Full article
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11 pages, 7617 KiB  
Article
Soil Erosion Monitoring in Quarry Restoration Using Drones
by Vicenç Carabassa, Pau Montero, Josep Maria Alcañiz and Joan-Cristian Padró
Minerals 2021, 11(9), 949; https://doi.org/10.3390/min11090949 - 30 Aug 2021
Cited by 15 | Viewed by 4041
Abstract
Mining is an essential activity that supports the provision of raw materials. However, the extraction process of mining has deep environmental impacts. For this reason, restoration actions are mandatory, and monitoring is a key step in ensuring the renaturalization of affected areas. Erosion [...] Read more.
Mining is an essential activity that supports the provision of raw materials. However, the extraction process of mining has deep environmental impacts. For this reason, restoration actions are mandatory, and monitoring is a key step in ensuring the renaturalization of affected areas. Erosion processes are one of the main problems that affect restored areas in extractive activities due to the frequently steep slopes and the difficulty of revegetating the technosols constructed using mining debris. This research aims to develop a method for determining soil losses due to water erosion in mine-restored areas by using Geographic Information Systems (GIS) and Remote Sensing (RS) tools. For the study, images obtained using Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) in an open pit mine in the process of restoration are used, from which the Digital Elevation Model (DEM) of the current state of the slopes is obtained (0.10 m spatial resolution). With GIS techniques, ridges of the rills and gullies generated in the slopes are detected, whereby an estimation of a first DEM before the erosive process and a second DEM after the erosive process can be constructed. Each of these DEMs are evaluated individually in order to determine the height differences and estimate the volumetric loss. At the same time, the results are validated with the DEM derived from official mapping agencies’ airborne Lidar data (1.00 m spatial resolution), which yield consistent data in the volumetric quantification of the erosion despite the difference in spatial resolution. In conclusion, the high spatial resolution of drone images facilitated a detailed monitoring of erosive processes, obtaining data from vast and inaccessible slopes that are usually immeasurable with traditional field techniques, and altogether improving the monitoring process of mine restoration. Full article
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19 pages, 3199 KiB  
Article
Instability Assessment of Hanging Wall Rocks during Underground Mining of Iron Ores
by Oleg Bazaluk, Mykhailo Petlovanyi, Serhii Zubko, Vasyl Lozynskyi and Kateryna Sai
Minerals 2021, 11(8), 858; https://doi.org/10.3390/min11080858 - 10 Aug 2021
Cited by 26 | Viewed by 2982
Abstract
The paper presents the study of the deformation processes development in unstable rocks of the hanging wall during mining a thick steeply dipping ore deposit in the example of the Yuzhno-Belozerskyi deposit. In the studied field, there are problems of stability of hanging [...] Read more.
The paper presents the study of the deformation processes development in unstable rocks of the hanging wall during mining a thick steeply dipping ore deposit in the example of the Yuzhno-Belozerskyi deposit. In the studied field, there are problems of stability of hanging wall rocks, represented by low-resistant shale rocks that do not withstand significant outcrops in time. A decrease in stability is manifested in the form of failure of the hanging wall rocks into the stope. Based on a detailed study of the ore deposit geological structure and the performance of the stopes mining, according to the survey data, an area of the deposit has been identified where the ore failure and dilution reach 4%–8% with a maximum value of 12%. This also makes it possible to determine the most important averaged source data for performing physical modeling on equivalent materials. It has been determined that the deformation value of the hanging wall rocks with subsequent failure into the stope and ore mass deformation in the sloping bottom change exponentially with an increase in the depth of the stope location, and the dynamics of increasing rock deformations in the hanging wall is noticeably higher than in the sloping bottom of the stope. This reduces the quality of the mined ore and increases the probability of rock failure area propagation to the hanging wall drifts with their subsequent destruction. The results of physical modeling are characterised by acceptable reliability and are confirmed by a high similarity with the actual data on ore dilution with broken rocks during the stopes development. It has been found that during the formation of a steeply dipping outcrop of stopes with an area of 1200 m2, unstable rocks of the hanging wall are prone to failure of significant volumes. For successful mining and achieving stope element stability, it is recommended to optimise its parameters, the height, width and the value of a steeply dipping outcrop, as well as to preserve the ore pillar in the hanging wall until the ore is broken and drawn from the rest of the stope. Full article
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16 pages, 7444 KiB  
Article
Estimation of Mining-Induced Horizontal Strain Tensor of Land Surface Applying InSAR
by Wojciech T. Witkowski, Magdalena Łukosz, Artur Guzy and Ryszard Hejmanowski
Minerals 2021, 11(7), 788; https://doi.org/10.3390/min11070788 - 20 Jul 2021
Cited by 13 | Viewed by 2749 | Correction
Abstract
Horizontal strains related to mining-induced subsidence may endanger infrastructure and surface users’ safety. While directional horizontal strains should be well determined, appropriate solutions for a complete assessment of the terrain surface deformation field are still required. As a result, the presented study examined [...] Read more.
Horizontal strains related to mining-induced subsidence may endanger infrastructure and surface users’ safety. While directional horizontal strains should be well determined, appropriate solutions for a complete assessment of the terrain surface deformation field are still required. As a result, the presented study examined a new method for calculating horizontal strain tensor based on the decomposition of satellite radar interferometry (InSAR) observations into vertical and azimuth look direction (ALD) displacements. Based on a geometric integral model, we tested our method on experimental data before applying it to an underground copper ore mine in Poland. In the case study, the displacement field was determined using the Multi-Temporal InSAR method on Sentinel-1 data. The model data relative error did not exceed 0.02 at σ = ±0.003. For the case study, land subsidence of up to −167 mm and ALD displacements ranging from −110 mm to +62 mm was obtained, whereas the extreme values of horizontal strains ranged from −0.52 mm/m to +0.36 mm/m at σ = ±0.050 mm/m. Our results demonstrate the high accuracy of the method in determining the horizontal strain tensor. As a result, the approach can broaden the assessment of the environmental impact of land subsidence worldwide. Full article
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11 pages, 11823 KiB  
Article
A Tunnel under an In-Pit Mine Waste Dump to Improve Environmental and Landscape Recovery of the Site
by Rania Rebbah, Joana Duarte, Omar Djezairi, Mohamed Fredj and João Santos Baptista
Minerals 2021, 11(6), 566; https://doi.org/10.3390/min11060566 - 26 May 2021
Cited by 6 | Viewed by 2437
Abstract
By adopting the green mining concept, the mining industry seeks to respond to the current societal objective of supplying the mineral raw materials necessary for economic development while minimising the ecological footprint. To accomplish environmental recovery simultaneously with mineral exploitation, as well as [...] Read more.
By adopting the green mining concept, the mining industry seeks to respond to the current societal objective of supplying the mineral raw materials necessary for economic development while minimising the ecological footprint. To accomplish environmental recovery simultaneously with mineral exploitation, as well as to take advantage of mine waste, this study proposes a new solution that includes the construction of a tunnel to access the mining area. The concept, developed with topographical and geological data, was tested for the Bled El Hadba phosphate deposit. The extraction volumes were estimated by considering all the technical and legal aspects of the exploitation. The results showed that the best location for the tunnel is on the non-mineralised bottom of the mine and placed after ore removal. The tunnel is then progressively covered by mine tailings as it is extended. This concept is applicable to sub-horizontal ore deposits. We show that the solution is feasible and allows full site recovery at the end of the open-pit mining phase. Full article
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23 pages, 12413 KiB  
Article
Remote Sensing Inventory and Geospatial Analysis of Brick Kilns and Clay Quarrying in Kabul, Afghanistan
by Jessica D. DeWitt, Peter G. Chirico, Marissa A. Alessi and Kathleen M. Boston
Minerals 2021, 11(3), 296; https://doi.org/10.3390/min11030296 - 11 Mar 2021
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 2737
Abstract
Reconstruction and urban development in Kabul, Afghanistan, has prompted vast expansion of the clay quarrying and brick making industry. This study identified the extent and distribution of clay quarrying and brick kilns in the greater Kabul area between 1965 and 2018. Very high-resolution [...] Read more.
Reconstruction and urban development in Kabul, Afghanistan, has prompted vast expansion of the clay quarrying and brick making industry. This study identified the extent and distribution of clay quarrying and brick kilns in the greater Kabul area between 1965 and 2018. Very high-resolution satellite imagery was interpreted to quantify and characterize the type, number, and location of brick kilns for 1965, 2004, 2011, and 2018. Geospatial analysis of kilns together with geologic data and the results of hyperspectral image analysis yielded information regarding the extent of relevant mineral resources. Finally, kernel density analysis of kiln locations for each date called attention to their shifting spatial distribution. The study found that the clay quarrying and brick making industry has expanded exponentially. The type of kilns has transitioned from artisanal style clamp kilns to small-scale Bull’s Trench Kilns (BTK), and ultimately to Fixed Chimney Bull’s Trench Kilns (FCBTK). While quarrying has occurred entirely within quaternary windblown loess and clay deposits, artisanal clamp kilns were located in fine sediments containing montmorillonite and FCBTKs have developed in sediments containing calcite and muscovite. The study’s inventory of kilns was then used to estimate kiln workforce at 27,500 workers and production at 1.579 billion bricks per year. Full article
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Other

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1 pages, 162 KiB  
Correction
Correction: Witkowski et al. Estimation of Mining-Induced Horizontal Strain Tensor of Land Surface Applying InSAR. Minerals 2021, 11, 788
by Wojciech T. Witkowski, Magdalena Łukosz, Artur Guzy and Ryszard Hejmanowski
Minerals 2021, 11(9), 1005; https://doi.org/10.3390/min11091005 - 15 Sep 2021
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1538
Abstract
The authors wish to make the following corrections to this paper [...] Full article
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