Taking a look at Mine Waste

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During open-pit mining, the overburden material was removed to gain access to the ore and placed in massive rock piles. Intact rock is broken into smaller pieces in open pit mines by blasting. The broken material, referred to as run-of-mine waste rock, is removed from the pit by loading it onto trucks using loaders or shovels. All mining operations generate waste. ‘Waste’ is a general term used to describe the various materials remaining at a mining operation after recovery of the metals. Rock piles, the preferred term by some in the metal mining industry today, refer to the man-made structures consisting of piles of non-ore overburden material that had to be removed in order to extract ore. This material, referred to in older literature as mine waste, mine soils, overburden, stockpiles or sub-ore does not include the tailings material, which consists of material remaining after milling.
Mine waste rock and overburden dumps are massive structures. These immense waste dumps are often up to 400 meters high, designed to contain in excess of 1 billion cubic meters of material. Instability of the structures has caused increased concern by the mine operators and the government regulators because of impacts on the environment and risk to the safety of personnel, equipment and infrastructure.
The volumes of mine waste produced depends mainly on the geologic characteristics of an ore body, the type of mining (underground or open pit), and the nature of ore extracted as well as the
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