The mining of large underground potash deposits presents an unusual challenge because the quantity of ore to be mined is very large, the value of the ore is relatively low, there is extreme competition, and most dominately, at the depth of many potash mines there are severe stress and creep (plastic flow) problems. There is also the possibility of variable ore thickness, irregular ore zones, changing ore grade, excessive impurities (insolubles, MgCl2, etc.), barren zones, changeable or high slope of the seams, and possibly the practical need to mine non-potash layers. The danger of potential flooding, rock burst from trapped high pressure gas, a weak and/or unstable roof, high temperatures, combustible gas, etc. may also be present. All of these factors, and many more, make mining a very demanding and challenging part of the potash industry. Even so, the fairly well known and similar physical properties of various ores, the general similarity of its companion or adjacent rocks, its geological setting, and of course the demands of economics, have allowed comparatively standard mining techniques, with high efficiency and high capacity equipment, to be employed. Consequently, the operation of most mines have many characteristics in common, but since each ore body is somewhat different, some-to-many unique features also exist at each mine.
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- Potash Mining
PhD Donald E. Garrett
- Springer Netherlands
- Chapter 3
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