Tin Mining occurs at many places around the world, but how is it being mined? This page describes the main mining methods.
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Dredging is one of the more common method of Tin Mining. It can only be applied on low-lying areas with alluvial tin deposits. A dredge is a like a platform which floats on an artificial lake.
Firstly, a chain of moving buckets digs in the tin-bearing material. It carries the tin-bearing material towards the dredge. It is then emptied into a revolving screen where it is washed and broken up by powerful jets of water. Larger materials are washed down a chute and discharged as tailings. The tin and other smaller materials which are left behind are carried over jig trays. These are trays with holes at the bottom. The flow of water and the constant shaking on the tray leaves the tin on the tray while finer materials are discharged as tailings too.
Advantages Very efficient method of mining aluvial tin. Can be used to mine deposits found near the surface in areas prone to flooding Disadvantages A very high cost involved Can only be used at places with no obstacles like boulders or tree stumps, or it'll damage the dredge bucket.
The most common method of extracting alluvial tin deposit in Malaysia is Gravel-Pump Mining. This method involves spraying high-pressure jets of water on rocks containing tin ore and breaking them up. The tin-bearing material is then washed down a depression called a sump. A pump brings the material up a palong, a gently sloping wooden structure which seperates tin from other materials. The procedure of extracting tin is simple. As the tin-bearing materials flow down the palong, wooden bars across the palong, called riffles traps the heavier iron ore, leaving the rest of the material to be dumped as tailings.
Advantages Cheap & can be used at small sites. Can be carried out on uneven and hilly ground. Obstructions such as boulders and tree stumps do not pose a problem Disadvantages Not all tin ore can be recovered. Some may be washed away with the tailings - -
Open-cast mining is a mining method of digging the tin-bearing material from a surface with mechanical shovels. This type of mining is suitable for mining tin in stony grounds. In 1994, there were 9 such mines in Perak. It contributed to about 21% of its total production.
This method of mining is practised by small mines in Perak, most of them are run by a family without employees. This is a simple method of extracting alluvial tin in streams by panning. A dulang is a wooden pan of diameter 50 cm. Tin-bearing material from under the stream is scooped into a dulang and the dulang is twirled just below water level. The lighter sand particles are washed over the edge of the dulang while tin ore remains at the bottom. The dulang washers normally sell their products to larger mines.
Underground mines are established in areas with promising ore deposits. The shaft is the primary vertical channel through which people and ore are transported in and out of the mine. The miners’ elevator is called a cage, and the ore reaches the surface via a car called a skip. A ventilation system near the main shaft ensures that miners receive fresh air and prevents the accumulation of dangerous gases. A system of crosscuts connects the ore body to the main shaft at several levels, and these levels are, in turn, connected by openings called raises. Stopes are the chambers where the ore is broken and mined.
A shaft requires hoisting equipment to raise the ore and rock to the surface, pumping equipment to dispose of any water present, and structural support for the rock and the mechanical equipment operating in the shaft. In an adit, drainage occurs naturally in all workings above the adit as a result of gravity, and structural support is usually not as costly or extensive.
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