Moving towards deep underground mineral resources: Drivers, challenges and potential solutions

Ghorbani, Y., Nwaila, G.T., Zhang, S.E. , Bourdeau, J.E., Cánovas, M., Arzua, J. and Nikadat, N. (2023) Moving towards deep underground mineral resources: Drivers, challenges and potential solutions. Resources Policy, 80 . p. 103222. ISSN 0301-4207

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Underground mining has historically occurred in surface and near-surface (shallow) mineral deposits. While no universal definition of deep underground mining exists, humanity's need for non-renewable natural resources has inevitably pushed the boundaries of possibility in terms of environmental and technological constraints. Recently, deep underground mining is being extensively developed due to the depletion of shallow mineral deposits. One of the main advantages of deep underground mining is its lower environmental footprint compared to shallow mining. In this paper, we summarise the key factors driving deep underground mining, which include an increasing need for raw materials, exhaustion of shallow mineral deposits, and increasing environmental scrutiny. We examine the challenges associated with deep underground mining, mainly the: environmental, financial, geological, and geotechnical aspects. Furthermore, we explore solutions provided by recent advances in science and technology, such as the integration of mineral processing and mining, and the digital and technological revolution. We further examine the role of legacy data in its ability to bridge current and future practices in the context of deep underground mining. © 2022 The Authors

Keywords:Deposits, Mineral exploration, Minerals, Environmental constraints, Environmental footprints, Industrial revolutions, Legacy data, Near surfaces, Non-renewable natural resources, Subsurface, Technological constraints, industrial development, mineral resource, mining, natural resource, 4th industrial revolution, Mineral resources, future prospect
Divisions:College of Science
College of Science > School of Chemistry
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ID Code:54484
Deposited On:28 Jul 2023 12:05

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