[GIFS] The 5 Stages of the Mining Life Cycle
Mining operations are complex. They aren't your run-of-the-mill type projects. These billion dollar complexes consist of various interconnected projects, operating simultaneously to deliver refined commodities like gold, silver, coal and iron ore. It’s a five stage process and we’ve broken it down using GIFs.
The beginning of any mining project begins with the exploration stage. It's where the magic happens. Companies enlist geologists and others to prospect remote areas in search of mineral deposits. Methods such as geological surface mapping and sampling, geophysical measurements and geochemical analysis is often applied at an early stage to pin out potential deposits.
Mine-site design and planning
Once mapping and mineral resource data is collected, and the results are strong, the project can move forward to the design and planning stage. This typically consist of studies to help companies determine if and how a project can be safe, environmentally sound, economically viable and socially responsible.
If you build it, they will come. The construction process occurs after research, permitting and approvals are complete. Construction of mining sites invovles building roads, processing facilities, environmental management systems, employee housing and other facilities.
The two most common methods of mining are surface and underground mining. The method is determined mainly by the characteristics of the mineral deposit and the limits imposed by safety, technology, environmental and economical concerns.
The first step in the production stage is recovering the minerals. This is the process of extracting the ore from rock using a variety of tools and machinery.
The second step is processing. The recovered minerals are processed through huge crushers or mills to separate commercially valuable minerals from their ores.
Once processed, the ore is then transported to smelting facilities.
The final step in production is smelting. This process involves melting the concentrate in a furnance to extract the metal from its ore. The ore is then poured into moulds, producing bars of bullion, which are then ready for sale.
Closure and reclamation
The fifth and final stage in mining operations is closure and reclamation. Once a mining site has been exhausted of reserves, the process of closing the site occurs, dismantling all facilities on the property. The reclamation stage is then implemented, returning the land to its original state.
A comprehensive rehabilitation program has many clearly stated objectives which may include:
• ensuring public health and safety
• minimizing environmental effects
• removing waste and hazardous material
• preserving water quality
• stabilizing land to protect against erosion
• establishing new landforms and vegetation
Lynas revenue jumps 21% as rare earth prices jump
Australian miner Lynas Rare Earths posted a 20.6% rise in revenue in the March quarter as selling prices for the key metals it mines hit record highs amid strong demand, particularly for neodymium and praseodymium (NdPr).
NdPr is used in magnets for electric vehicles and windfarms, in consumer goods like smartphones, and in military equipment such as jet engines and missile guidance systems.
The company said it plans to maintain production at 75% however, as it seeks to continue to meet covid-19 safety protocols and grapples with shipping difficulties. Shares in Lynas fell 6.1% after the results.
“They have faced a few logistics issues, and it would be good to know when they are going to start lifting their utilisation rates a bit,” said portfolio manager Andy Forster of Argo Investments in Sydney.
“Pricing has been pretty strong although it may have peeled back a bit recently. I still think the medium, long-term outlook is pretty good for their suite of products.”
Lynas post ed revenue of A$110mn ($85.37mn) for the three months to the end of March, up from A$91.2mn a year earlier as prices soared.
It said its full product range garnered average selling prices of A$35.5/kg during the March quarter, up from $23.7 in the first half of the financial year. “While the persistence of the covid crisis, especially in Europe, calls for careful forecasts for our business ahead, we see the rare earth market recovering very quickly,” said Lynas, the world’s largest rare earths producer outside China.
Freight demand has spiked during the pandemic, while the blockage of the Suez Canal in March delayed a shipment to April.
Lynas’ output of 4,463 tonnes of rare earth oxide (REO) during the quarter was marginally lower than 4,465 tonnes from a year earlier.