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Monday, November 29, 2010

How to open a New Mine


A mine has to be located on a viable mineral deposit, but that isn’t necessarily so giving truth to the Canadian phrase defining a mine, “A mine is a hole in the ground with a fool at the bottom, and a liar at the top.” More then one mine has been built for the sole purpose of bilking the investors.

Aerial View of the Dome Mine in Timmins, Ontario

Opening a new mining site:

Mines are developed in places where viable mineral deposits are located before building a mine is even considered. The site is found through the efforts of a prospector or today in most cases the efforts of a team of exploration geologists working with geophysicists to locate ore bodies deep inside the crust of the earth. It should be remembered that a “showing” of ore doesn’t necessarily lead to the development of a mine. Usually there are as many as three hundred shows investigated before one is found that can support a mine.

Preliminary work:

Finding the future location is done by the exploration team that can range from a single prospector to an entire exploration team searching for a viable ore deposit. Once a deposit is found drillers are called in for diamond drilling to further explore the site, and get an idea on the size of the ore body by drilling a grid with spacing between the individual drill holes of usually 100 meters. Closer drilling is called for to further define specific portions of the ore body.
While the preliminary work is ongoing the mine promoters are busily getting the financing to continue the exploration of the site as well as gaining the additional money required to develop the mine. Most of this work is done on the Toronto Stock Exchange (TSX) although there are others that include all the major stock exchanges in the world.
Virtually all the going on’s at the ore site and the financial efforts is reported on an arm of the Toronto Stock Exchange that reports on virtually all the corporations in the world their filings, financial statements, 43-101 filings, press releases, and notices of stock holder meetings along with their results.


Once a viable ore body is discovered to develop it further is going to require a mining permit that by the time you have gone through the alphabet soup of various bureaucracies can take several years that together with lawyer’s fees that can be quite pricey. The toughest hurdle you will face is the local inland wetlands commission and even tougher if there is one the local planning and zoning board (P&Z). Most lawsuits are initiated at the local level although there are lawsuits aimed to stop the mine initiated by various other groups outside the local area. A mine usually requires several different permits, but the final one is issued by the local authorities.

Heavy mining equipment used in a surface mine.

Constructing and outfitting a mine:

Once the ore body has been proven and all the necessary permits are in place the actual construction and outfitting of the mine site can take place. This is going to require a decision on the part of management whether this is going to happen in-house or if it is going to be farmed out to independent contractors. There are enough independent contractors to both construct the mine and outfit it at the same time. Many mines are also operated by independent contractors hired by management to operate the mine under contract.
A decision also has to be made by management whether the mine is going to be a surface mine or an underground mine. Surface mines are the least expensive to operate, but there are situations that can arise making it more desirable to have an underground mine. This decision will determine the equipment required to operate the mine.
Mines are often built in remote locations requiring not only providing for the mine’s operation, but housing for the workers as well. A large mining operation can require the construction of a city that needs all the facilities like schools, hospitals, libraries and anything else found in a modern city. It will include all the infrastructure found in a modern town or city including roads not only those used in the ore extraction process, but for other means of transportation including in many cases an airport,


These are only some of the steps required to open a mine there are a legion of others that are apt to crop up as the building and operating of a mine continues.

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