How is fluorite mined?


Quick Answer

Depending on where it occurs, fluorite is mined using open pit, vein mining or room and pillar mining procedures which range from shrinkage stopping to drilling and muckhauling operations of various scales. Fluorite occurs in veins weathering up to 250 feet deep and is often intermixed with fragments of clay and other naturally occurring materials which can complicate the process of extraction.

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Full Answer

Open pit mining is most practical when a large exposed vein of fluorite is found. This process separates fluorite out from clay, wall rock and other contaminating natural presences. Open pit mining makes use of draglines and other mining techniques like power shoveling, modified top slicing and overhead shrinkage stoping.

Room and pillar mining techniques allow for the expansion of veins as long as the mine's roof is in good condition. Diesel-propelled jumbos are used to drill through rock and expand the mine while muck haulers clear out refuse and rubber-tired trucks are used to haul the product and dross out for processing on the surface.

Shrinkage stoping, cut and fill and open stoping are used in shaft mining because they require the presence of strong shaft walls. These techniques allow for efficient processing and for the removal of broken ore via tracks and side-dump carts.

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