Minerals - Essay Example

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Harben and Kuzvart (1996) identified five major graphite deposits types. These include as the magmatic deposits, vein deposits, deposits formed through the crystallization and…
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Minerals Introduction: Graphite is used in the steelmaking, foundry facing, lubricants, pencils, crucibles, and refractory. Graphite is used as lubricant and affects the frictional properties of the faults.
Deposits of Graphite:
Graphite deposits occur in the metamorphosed sedimentary rocks, metasomatic and hydrothermal deposits. Harben and Kuzvart (1996) identified five major graphite deposits types. These include as the magmatic deposits, vein deposits, deposits formed through the crystallization and concentration of carbon, skarn deposits and residual deposits.
Most Occurrence of Graphite:
Graphite occurs in the gneisses and schists, which are highly metamorphosed. The graphite has weathered deeply into the ferruginous and soft clays. Graphite presents resistance to weathering and occurs among the residues of weathering (Kogel, Irivedi and Barker, 2006). Crespo et al., (2004) reported that disseminated graphite only occurred in metamorphic rocks of the La Umbria series and Fuente del Oro in the “Aracena Metamorphic Belt”.
Which mine is used to retrieve the graphite from deposits?
The deposits of graphite are weathered at 50 to 65 feet in depth. Coherence between graphite and other minerals is lessened due to weathering. Subsurface mining needs the cutting of multiple shafts to access the graphite deposits. Sometimes, tunneling equipments are used to remove the rock.
Both, crystalline, and flake Graphite are graded as per carbon contents, and size of particles. Graphite with a high purity is only achieved through heating in the electric furnaces. Ash chemistry and likely applications are applied to grade the Flake carbon (80-99%), crystalline graphite (90-99%) and amorphous carbon (70-85%). Graphite’s purity is determined on the basis of Carbon contents and size of particles while amorphous Graphite is classified only on the basis of the carbon contents. Both, synthetic and natural graphite are heated up to 2500°C that produces the graphite of a high purity 99.9%. Silicon and Boron are used as promoter elements for the graphite structure. Introduction of these elements enhances the consistency, conductivity and lubricant properties of the graphite (Crossely, 2000).
Mining techniques for Graphite:
Usually two techniques named as open pit mining and underground mining are used for graphite mining. Open pit mining is the method for the extraction of rocks from the open pits. This technique is useful when graphite ore lies close to the surface of the earth. On the other hand, underground mining involves the mining of graphite placed at the depth under the surface of the earth. Drift mining, slope mining, shaft mining and hard rock mining are the important methods for the underground mining (Crusher in China, 2012).
Social and Environmental concerns of the Graphite Mining:
Mining process of Graphite requires the power operations at the mining locations. The construction, decommissioning and operations of these power generators have potential environmental impacts. For example, Ontario Graphite Limited closed it mining project due to these environmental issues. Mill operations work at the mining location for 24 hours, seven days a week and power generators emit the exhaust gases, which are mixed with the ambient process air. Diesel generators used at the mining locations produce the noise of a high level that disturbs the normal life in the environment. Local environment is highly impacted by the accidental spills (Stantec Consulting Ltd. 2012). Sometime, young boys involve in the mining and engage themselves in the exhausting work. Poor ventilation and dust during mining operations can result into respiratory problems. Improper knowledge about mining may result into death of labour. Study of Malisa and Kinabo (2005) also proved that graphite contents were more added during the drilling, blasting and shoveling processes.
In this paper, several aspects of graphite mining has been discussed including the uses of graphite, deposits of the graphite, occurrence of graphite and mining techniques of graphite. In the final part of the paper, the social and environmental impacts of the graphite mining are narrated.
Crespo, E., Loqie, J. Fernandez-Rodeiduez, C., Rodas, M., Dia-azpiroze, Fernandez-caliani, J.,
Barrenechea, J. (2004).” Significance of graphite occurrences in the Aracena Metamorphic Belt, Iberian Massif”, Geol. Mag. 141 (6), pp. 687–697.
Crossley, P. (2000), “Graphite: high-tech supply sharpens up”, Industrial Minerals 398, p.p. 31-
Crusher in China (2012). Graphite Mining Crusher Plant, available from Accessed on 25/02/2013.
Harben P.W. & Kuzvart M. (1996). Industrial minerals: a global geology. Industrial Minerals
Information Ltd, London.
Kogel, J., Irivedi, N., and Barker, J. (2006). Industrial Minerals & Rocks: Comodities, Mrkets,
and Uses. Society for Mining, Metallurgy and Exploration Inc.
Malisa, EP and Kinabo, SP. (2005). “Environmental risks for gemstone miners with reference to
merelani tanzanite mining area, Northeastern Tanzania”, Tanz. J. Sci. Vol 31(1).
Stantec Consulting Ltd. (2012). Kearney graphite mine power supply environmental screening
report, Available from Accessed on 24/02/2013. Read More
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