Mining Techniques in Ireland
This is a general overview of mining techniques used in Irish Mines and is not exhaustive or restrictive.
Stoping is commonly used in Irish Mines where the ore deposit is quite thick and involves the drilling of radial holes above or below the tunnel and the tunnel retreated back. This is often referred to as 'footwall' and 'hanging wall' mining where the footwall is at the base of the deposit and the hanging wall is at the top, stoping usually involves the drilling of long holes and a large amount of explosives are inserted and blasted, 'mucking out' of the ore can take several days due to the volume of rock blasted.
As the ground is exposed the 'mucking' is carried out using loading shovels (scoops) operated remotely by the operator who is located in a position of safety, the rock is then often loaded into large trucks and taken out of the mine or to the crushing/hoisting operation underground
|The production method depends upon the individual mine or the deposit being worked., in Gypsum mines and in some ore mines the ore/mineral is won by benching techniques, this involves the original tunnel being constructed to its identified boundary and the ore is won by a series of lifts where the tunnel height and width is increased by drilling the floor, roof and sides and blasting the rock. The tunnel is then retreated back. This method is used where the orebody/mineral deposit is relatively thin and horizontal.|
|Backfilling is where the void remaining following extraction of the ore or mineral is filled using a mixture of sand, cement and crushed waste rock - this solidifies and gains in strength over a period of time and allows extraction to be carried out adjecent to the area and thereby increases the percentage of ore that can be extracted, it also allows for the disposal of waste rock from the mine surface. This technique is used following stoping and benching operations|