The Limitations and Possibilities in Mining

mining

It’s no news to anyone that the crippling cold weather we had in the Midwest can halt work activities.

While talking with one of my contacts today, we were going over extreme conditions worked in; they do not break ground when temperatures are below 14 °F degrees. Another contact went over the same procedure and they don’t work in anything below -30 °F. It’s so frigid that you can even find images of rail tracks having fires lit on them to warm them up.

It got me thinking about a picture a colleague showed me from a diamond mine in Serbia; some of the extreme mines out there are pushing the boundaries of engineering today.

In cold weather, special rubbers, fluids, and PPE are necessary. So here is something to take your mind off the cold if you’re in the Midwest!

Meet the Mponeng Gold Mine: The World’s Deepest Mine

mining

Source: Wikipedia

Located in South Africa, the world’s deepest mine is a staggering 2.5 miles (or 4 kilometers) below the surface. The temperature of the rock at that depth is 151 °F or (66 °C) and pumps cycle ice slurry down just to make the conditions manageable. Just going to that temperature without the insulation and cooling would be fatal.

As you look at how far we’ve been able to push the boundaries, a number of countries have worked to drill as far as possible. The Kola Superdeep Borehole was a scientific drilling project of the Soviet Union. The project aimed to drill as deep into the Earth’s crust as possible. The USSR made it nearly 8 miles below the surface and is the deepest known to man. The temperature there is 180 °F (356 °C)!

Pushing the boundaries in mining

There are numerous threads talking about the sheer possibilities of using this energy. The Geothermal activity could power boilers and turbines and in turn, may have endless possibilities. And on that point, a number of these deep gold mines in Africa are not possible without modern technology.

Technology in mining is the main reason we’re able to explore and question opportunities for future energy sources. And without us continuing to push the boundaries, who knows where we would be today.

I’m always fascinated by both historical and futuristic views into my industry. If you have any particular sites that you have pictures of or a website that you think is very interesting, I’d love to see it!