Since the beginning of civilization, people have utilized the mining techniques to get access to the minerals on the surface of the Earth. Referring to the discoveries, it is brought to light that flint pebbles were extracted from deposits in France and Britain as far as the New Stone Age is concerned. Far back in 3000 BCE, the ancient Egyptians mined copper. When mining was new to the world, it was slow-going and dangerous. However, with time progressing, society has developed safer and more precise methods of locating and unveiling substances found in the Earth.
Fremont, CA: The History of Mining
1. Gold Mining-
• The California Gold Rush bought near about 300,000 people to California from abroad and other places in the country in the year 1848.
• During the Pike’s Peak Gold Rush in 1858, people flocked into Colorado, and just a year later, silver veins were found in Colorado as well.
• From the year 1898 to 1911, the Nome Gold Rush, Klondike Gold Rush, and Fairbanks Gold Rush occurred in Alaska, inviting prospectors and miners to the Yukon River Valley.
2. Coal Mining
• Some coal mining began before 1900. Yet the most productive coal mining techniques did not develop until and post the turn of the century, which includes the first conveyor belt and mechanized coal loading.
• In the mid-1800s, Bituminous coal overtook anthracite.
• Smaller coal companies merged into larger and more diversified firms in the 1960s.
• In 2008 the demand for better technology and new mines began as an aftermath of the fierce competition in the coal mining industry, which became too intense.
Mining Technology and its History
When mining had just begun, the miners used primitive tools for digging. The entire process was very long as the mining shafts were dug out by hand or by using stone tools. Later the pick and hammer were replaced with fire to clear out the tunnels and reach greater depths at a very quick rate. Just by piling up a heap of logs near the rock face and then burning them, the rock became weak and fractured.
The mining technology took a leap forward in the late Middle Ages when the miners had just started utilizing explosives to break up large rocks. From China, the black powder even reached the West but was eventually replaced with dynamite in the mid 19t century. In the meanwhile, there were advancements in motorized mining tools, like drills, lifts, and steam-powder pumps.
The industrial revolution spurred enhancement in explosives and mining equipment. The efficiency and capability of mining hard rock were significantly improved by the mechanical drills, which were powered by pistons and compressed air. There were improvements in other mining processes as well, such as hand-powered loading and hauling was replaced by electric conveyors, mine cars, and vehicles. The steam-driven pumps, candles solved the water problem, and oil-wick lamps were outcasted by gas lamps, and eventually battery-powered lamps. Hence it will not be much to say that mechanization and new technology sparked dramatic improvements in mining techniques.
Present Day Mining Technology
The mining techniques are always evolving in today’s technologically advanced society. The miners are still using heavy machinery like explosives, drills, trucks, and bulldozers, especially if they have to dig deep into the Earth. But advancements in technology have enabled the miners to excavate with more accuracy and very less harm to the surrounding ecosystem. Efficient machinery can be leveraged to reduce energy consumption and better the number of minerals or metals gleaned from the shaft. Newly-developed machines that are utilized for grinding and crushing have the potential to extract minerals from the Earth with less energy than before.
The mining history is vibrant and complex as well. Mining has been the driving factor behind significant advancements in society, but the dangers of mining have also resulted in the deaths of numerous workers. With technology advancing with every passing day, and it might eliminate the need for hands-on involvement from miners.