EVOLUTIONARY AND REVOLUTIONARY TECHNOLOGIES FOR MINING

Committee on Technologies for the Mining Industries

Board on Manufacturing and Engineering Design

Board on Earth Sciences and Resources

National Research Council

National Academy Press
Washington, D.C.



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Evolutionary and Revolutionary Technologies for Mining EVOLUTIONARY AND REVOLUTIONARY TECHNOLOGIES FOR MINING Committee on Technologies for the Mining Industries Board on Manufacturing and Engineering Design Board on Earth Sciences and Resources National Research Council National Academy Press Washington, D.C.

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Evolutionary and Revolutionary Technologies for Mining NATIONAL ACADEMY PRESS 2101 Constitution Avenue, N.W. Washington, D.C. 20418 NOTICE: The project that is the subject of this report was approved by the Governing Board of the National Research Council, whose members are drawn from the councils of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, and the Institute of Medicine. The members of the committee responsible for the report were chosen for their special competencies and with regard for appropriate balance. This study was supported by the U.S. Department of Energy, Office of Industrial Technologies, and the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health, Grant No. DE-AM01-99PO80016. The views and conclusions contained in this document are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the view of the Department of Energy or the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health. . International Standard Book Number: 0-309-07340-5 Library of Congress Catalog Card Number: 2001088181 Copies are available for sale from: National Academy Press 2101 Constitution Avenue, NW Washington, DC 20418 800-624-6242 202-334-3313 (in the Washington metropolitan areas) http://www.nap.edu Copies are available in limited supply from: Board on Manufacturing and Engineering Design 2101 Constitution Avenue, NW Washington, DC 20418 202-334-3505 bmaed@nas.edu Cover: Copyright 2001 by the National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved. Printed in the United States of America

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Evolutionary and Revolutionary Technologies for Mining THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES National Academy of Sciences National Academy of Engineering Institute of Medicine National Research Council The National Academy of Sciences is a private, nonprofit, self-perpetuating society of distinguished scholars engaged in scientific and engineering research, dedicated to the furtherance of science and technology and to their use for the general welfare. Upon the authority of the charter granted to it by the Congress in 1863, the Academy has a mandate that requires it to advise the federal government on scientific and technical matters. Dr. Bruce M. Alberts is president of the National Academy of Sciences. The National Academy of Engineering was established in 1964, under the charter of the National Academy of Sciences, as a parallel organization of outstanding engineers. It is autonomous in its administration and in the selection of its members, sharing with the National Academy of Sciences the responsibility for advising the federal government. The National Academy of Engineering also sponsors engineering programs aimed at meeting national needs, encourages education and research, and recognizes the superior achievements of engineers. Dr. William A. Wulf is president of the National Academy of Engineering. The Institute of Medicine was established in 1970 by the National Academy of Sciences to secure the services of eminent members of appropriate professions in the examination of policy matters pertaining to the health of the public. The Institute acts under the responsibility given to the National Academy of Sciences by its congressional charter to be an adviser to the federal government and, upon its own initiative, to identify issues of medical care, research, and education. Dr. Kenneth I. Shine is president of the Institute of Medicine. The National Research Council was organized by the National Academy of Sciences in 1916 to associate the broad community of science and technology with the Academy’s purposes of furthering knowledge and advising the federal government. Functioning in accordance with general policies determined by the Academy, the Council has become the principal operating agency of both the National Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Engineering in providing services to the government, the public, and the scientific and engineering communities. The Council is administered jointly by both Academies and the Institute of Medicine. Dr. Bruce M. Alberts and Dr. William A. Wulf are chairman and vice chairman, respectively, of the National Research Council.

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Evolutionary and Revolutionary Technologies for Mining COMMITTEE ON TECHNOLOGIES FOR THE MINING INDUSTRIES MILTON H. WARD, chair, Ward Resources, Incorporated, Tucson, Arizona JONATHAN G. PRICE, vice-chair, Nevada Bureau of Mines and Geology, Reno ROBERT RAY BEEBE, consultant, Tucson, Arizona CORALE L. BRIERLEY, Brierley Consultancy LLC, Highlands Ranch, Colorado LARRY COSTIN, Sandia National Labroatories, Albuquerque, New Mexico THOMAS FALKIE, Berwind National Resources Corporation, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania NORMAN L. GREENWALD, Norm Greenwald Associates, Tucson, Arizona KENNETH N. HAN, South Dakota School of Mines and Technology, Rapid City MURRAY HITZMAN, Colorado School of Mines, Golden GLENN MILLER, University of Nevada, Reno RAJA V. RAMANI, The Pennsylvania State University, University Park JOHN E. TILTON, Colorado School of Mines, Golden ROBERT BRUCE TIPPIN, North Carolina State University, Asheville RONG-YU WAN, Newmont Mining Corporation, Englewood, Colorado National Research Council Staff TAMARA L. DICKINSON, Study Director TERI G. THOROWGOOD, Research Associate JUDITH L. ESTEP, Senior Administrative Assistant

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Evolutionary and Revolutionary Technologies for Mining NATIONAL MATERIALS ADVISORY BOARD EDGAR A. STARKE, JR., chair, University of Virginia, Charlottesville EDWARD C. DOWLING, Cleveland Cliffs, Incorporated, Cleveland, Ohio THOMAS EAGAR, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge HAMISH FRASER, Ohio State University, Columbus ALASTAIR M. GLASS, Lucent Technologies, Murray Hill, New Jersey MARTIN E. GLICKSMAN, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Troy, New York JOHN A. S. GREEN, The Aluminum Association, Incorporated, Washington, D.C. THOMAS S. HARTWICK, TRW, Redwood, Washington ALLAN JACOBSON, University of Houston, Texas SYLVIA M. JOHNSON, NASA, Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, California FRANK E. KARASZ, University of Massachusetts, Amherst SHELIA F. KIA, General Motors Research and Development Center, Warren, Michigan HARRY A. LIPSITT, Wright State University, Yellow Spring, Ohio ALAN G. MILLER, Boeing Commercial Airplane Group, Seattle, Washington ROBERT C. PFAHL, JR., Motorola, Schaumburg, Illinois JULIA PHILLIPS, Sandia National Laboratories, Albuquerque, New Mexico HENRY J. RACK, Clemson University, South Carolina KENNETH L. REIFSNIDER, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Blacksburg T.S. SUDARSHAN, Materials Modification, Incorporated, Fairfax, Virginia JULIA WEERTMAN, Northwestern University, Evanston, Illinois National Research Council Staff ARUL MOZHI, Acting Director JULIUS CHANG, Senior Staff Officer DANIEL MORGAN, Senior Staff Officer SHARON YEUNG, Staff Officer TERI G. THOROWGOOD, Research Associate DANA CAINES, Administrative Associate JANICE PRISCO, Administrative Assistant PATRICIA WILLIAMS, Administrative Assistant

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Evolutionary and Revolutionary Technologies for Mining BOARD ON EARTH SCIENCES AND RESOURCES RAYMOND JEANLOZ, chair, University of California, Berkeley JOHN J. AMORUSO, Amoruso Petroleum Company, Houston, Texas PAUL B. BARTON, JR., U.S. Geological Survey (Emeritus), Reston, Virginia BARBARA L. DUTROW, Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge ADAM M. DZIEWONSKI, Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts RICHARD S. FISKE, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C. JAMES M. FUNK, Equitable Production Company, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania WILLIAM L. GRAF, Arizona State University, Tempe SUSAN M. KIDWELL, University of Chicago, Illinois SUSAN KIEFFER, Kieffer and Woo, Incorporated, Palgrave, Ontario PAMELA LUTTRELL, Independent Consultant, Dallas, Texas ALEXANDRA NAVROTSKY, University of California at Davis DIANNE R. NIELSON, Utah Department of Environmental Quality, Salt Lake City JONATHAN G. PRICE, Nevada Bureau of Mines and Geology, Reno National Research Council Staff ANTHONY R. DE SOUZA, Staff Director TAMARA L. DICKINSON, Senior Program Officer DAVID A. FEARY, Senior Program Officer ANNE M. LINN, Senior Program Officer LISA M. VANDEMARK, Program Officer JENNIFER T. ESTEP, Administrative Associate REBECCA E. SHAPACK, Research Assistant VERNA J. BOWEN, Administrative Assistant

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Evolutionary and Revolutionary Technologies for Mining Acknowledgments This report has been reviewed by individuals chosen for their diverse perspectives and technical expertise in accordance with procedures approved by the NRC’s Report Review Committee. The purpose of this independent review is to provide candid and critical comments that will assist the authors and the NRC in making their published report as sound as possible and to ensure that the report meets institutional standards for objectivity, evidence, and responsiveness to the study charge. The content of the review comments and draft manuscript remain confidential to protect the integrity of the deliberative process. We wish to thank the following individuals for their participation in the review of this report: Bobby Brown, CONSOL; Harry Conger, Homestake Mining Company; Ed Dowling, Cleveland Cliffs Incorporated; Deverle Harris, University of Arizona; Mark La Vier, Newmont Mining Company; Debra Stuthsacker, Consultant, and Milton Wadsworth, University of Utah. While the individuals listed above have provided many constructive comments and suggestions, responsibility for the final content of this report rests solely with the authoring committee and the NRC. The review of this report was overseen by Donald W. Gentry, appointed by the Commission on Engineering and Technical Systems, who was responsible for making certain that an independent examination of this report was carried out in accordance with institutional procedures and that all review comments were carefully considered. Responsibility for the final content of this report rests entirely with the authoring committee and the institution. Finally, the committee gratefully acknowledges the support of the staff of the National Research Council. We particularly thank Dr. Tamara L. Dickinson for keeping the committee focused on our charge and for advice and guidance throughout the process. We also thank Judy Estep for able assistance with logistics, Teri Thorowgood for technical matters, and Carol R. Arenberg for editorial assistance in minimizing the use of technical terms such as “blunging,” “crud,” and “slimes.”

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Evolutionary and Revolutionary Technologies for Mining Preface Minerals are basic to our way of living. Essentially everything we use in modern society is a product of the mining, agriculture, or oil and gas industries. Mining is the process of extracting raw materials from the Earth’s crust.1 In fact, mining contributes much in the way of raw material to the other two industries. Mining is important to the United States, which is both a major producer and a major consumer of mineral commodities. As a major producer in the world markets of metals and other mined products, the United States is a prime developer of mining technology, and American experts work in mining operations throughout the world. No country is entirely self-sufficient in mineral resources, and not every country has high-grade, large, exceptionally profitable mineral deposits. Mining is a global industry, and technologies are rapidly transferred from one country to another. Mining in the United States is an industry in transition. Environmental considerations are shifting coal production from the East and Southeast to lower sulfur resources in the West. Industrial-mineral mining is projected to expand, in response to increasing consumer demand coupled with limitations on import competition for low-value, bulk-commodity products. The expansion of metal mining in the United States is likely to be small because of diminishing ore grades, regulatory burdens, and limited access to land (although there are some exceptions), as well as higher grade deposits being developed worldwide, including by U.S. companies. Nevertheless, technology will continue to play a vital role in all sectors of mining, as it has in the past, making the products of mining available to the consumers and raising standards of living. Technological advancements have been the key to keeping mineral depletion and mineral prices in balance. In this period of transition, innovation and development will be more important than ever. The U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Industrial Technology and the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health requested that the National Research Council provide guidance on possible future technological developments in the mining sector. In response to that request the Committee on Technologies for the Mining Industries composed of experts from academia, industry, state governments, and the national laboratories, was formed. Committee members have recognized expertise in exploration geology and geophysics; mining practices and processes for coal, minerals, and metals; process engineering; resource economics; the environmental impacts of mining; mineral and metal extraction and processing technologies; and health and safety. The report has identified research areas for new technologies that would address exploration, mining and processing and associated health and safety, and environmental issues. The report calls for enhanced cooperation between government, industry and academia in mineral research and development, which will be vital for the development of new technologies. The federal government’s role is especially important. As Dr. Charles M. Vest, president of MIT, stated when he received the 2000 Arthur M. Bueche Award from the National Academy of Engineering, “the role of the federal government in supporting research and advanced education will remain absolutely essential.” 1   As used in this report, the raw materials that are mined include metals, industrial minerals, coal, and uranium, the latter two being raw materials for the production of energy. Liquid and gaseous raw materials from the earth, such as oil and natural gas, are not included, although in-situ mining, which is treated in this report, has several technologies in common with conventional oil and gas recovery.

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Evolutionary and Revolutionary Technologies for Mining Contents     FIGURES, TABLES, AND SIDEBARS   xv     EXECUTIVE SUMMARY   1 1   INTRODUCTION   7     Study and Report,   7 2   AN OVERVIEW OF TECHNOLOGY AND MINING   10     Importance of Mining,   10     Mining and the U.S. Economy,   10     Overview of Current Technologies,   15     Industries of the Future Program,   17     Benefits of Research and Development,   17 3   TECHNOLOGIES IN EXPLORATION, MINING AND PROCESSING   19     Introduction,   19     Exploration,   19     Mining,   24     In-situ Mining,   33     Processing,   37 4   HEALTH AND SAFETY RISKS AND BENEFITS   47     Equipment Size,   50     Automation,   50     Ergonomics,   51     Alternative Power Sources,   51     Noise,   51     Communications,   51     Training Technology,   51     Recommendations,   51 5   RESEARCH OPPORTUNITIES IN ENVIRONMENTAL TECHNOLOGIES   53     Introduction,   53     Research Opportunities and Technology Areas,   53     Recommendations,   58

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Evolutionary and Revolutionary Technologies for Mining 6   CURRENT ACTIVITIES IN FEDERAL AGENCIES   61     U.S. Department of Agriculture,   61     U.S. Department of Commerce,   61     U.S. Department of Energy,   61     U.S. Department of Defense,   63     U.S. Department of Health and Human Services,   64     U.S. Department of the Interior   64     U.S. Department of Labor,   64     U.S. Department of Transportation,   64     U.S. Environmental Protection Agency,   65     National Aeronautics and Space Administration,   65     National Science Foundation,   65     Nonfederal Programs,   65     Recommendations,   65 7   GOVERNMENT-SPONSORED RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT IN MINING TECHNOLOGY   67     Benefits of Research and Development,   67     Role of Government,   67     Research and Development in Mining Technology,   68     Recommendations,   69 8   SUMMARY OF CONCLUSIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS   70     Importance of Mining to U.S. Economy,   70     Technologies in Exploration, Mining, and Processing,   70     Health and Safety Risks and Benefits,   70     Research Opportunities in Environmental Technologies,   71     Role of the Federal Government,   71     Available Research and Technology Resources,   72     REFERENCES   74     APPENDIXES         A COMMITTEE AND STAFF BIOGRAPHIES,   79     B ORAL PRESENTATIONS,   82     C AGENCY WEB ADDRESSES,   83     ACRONYMS   85

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Evolutionary and Revolutionary Technologies for Mining Figures, Tables, and Sidebars FIGURES 2-1a   Major base and ferrous metal producing areas,   13 2-1b   Major precious metal producing areas,   13 2-2a   Major industrial rock and mineral producing areas, Part I,   14 2-2b   Major industrial rock and mineral producing areas, Part II,   14 2-3   Coal-bearing areas of the United States,   16 3-1   Helicopter-borne, aeromagnetic survey system,   22 3-2   Helicopter-borne, aeromagnetic survey system,   22 3-3   Photo of open-pit copper mine at Bingham Canyon,   25 3-4   Photograph of a quarry,   25 3-5   A conceptual representation of the general layout of a modern mine, the methods of mining, and the technology used,   26 3-6   Sample layout of an underground mine, identifying various mining operations and terms,   27 3-7   Photograph of longwall coal mining,   28 3-8   The design of an in-situ well field in Highland Mine, Wyoming,   35 4-1   U.S. mine fatalities, 1910 to 1999,   48 4-2   Nonfatal lost workdays, 1978 to 1997,   48 4-3   U.S. fatality rates, 1931 to 1999,   49 4-4   Nonfatal days-lost rates, 1978 to 1999,   49 4-5   Average dust concentrations for U.S. longwall and continuous mining operations,   50 5-1   Photograph of pit lake,   56 TABLES ES-1   Key Research and Development Needs for the Mining Industries,   3 1-1   Research Agenda for the Mining Industry,   8 2-1   U.S. net imports of selected nonfuel mineral materials,   11 2-2   U.S. Consumption and Production of Selected Mineral Commodities,   12 3-1   Opportunities for Research and Technology Development in Exploration,   24 3-2   Opportunities for Research and Development in Mining,   34

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Evolutionary and Revolutionary Technologies for Mining 3-3   Opportunities for Research and Technology Development in In-Situ Mining,   36 3-4   Opportunities for Research and Development in Mineral Processing,   46 4-1   Recommendations for Research and Development in Health and Safety,   52 5-1   Opportunities for Research and Technology Development for Environmental Protection,   58 6-1   Estimates of Mining Research and Development Capabilities of the National Laboratories,   62 8-1   Key Research and Development Needs for the Mining Industries,   71 SIDEBARS 3-1   Examples of Environmental and Health Concerns That Should Be Identified During Exploration,   20 3-2   Models for Ore Deposits with Little Environmental Impact,   21 3-3   Need for Research on Fine Particles and Dust,   37 5-1   Phosphogypsum,   54 5-2   Blue Sky Ideas for Research on Environmental Issues,   60 7-1   Benefits of SXEW to Producers and Consumers,   68 8-1   Potential Revolutionary Developments for Mining,   72 8-2   Basic and Applied Research and Development,   72