74868 - Mines and Quarries M

Course Unit Page


This teaching activity contributes to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals of the UN 2030 Agenda.

Industry, innovation and infrastructure Sustainable cities Responsible consumption and production

Academic Year 2021/2022

Learning outcomes

The course provides the basic principles of the design, management and control of mineral raw materials (MRM) extraction of 1st and 2nd category minerals. The design is examined in the light of the interconnections among economic and market criteria, current regulations, safety rules and environmental protection.

Course contents

The course aims to provide awareness of the role of Mineral Raw Materials (MPM) in our life and in the world economy and the need for sustainable production. This is why we focus on basic knowledge for the MPM extraction cycle. The preparatory and conditioning activities for mining are presented or summarized. The course, after a presentation of the preparation activities of the mining sites, focuses on the presentation of the ore excavation and transport activities. The main characteristics of the ore dressing phase are recalled, as they are an integral part of the MRM exploitation process and whose plants belong to the "mine" industrial complex. The course ends with a brief analysis of the technical-economic-environmental sustainability of MRM's production activities. The course structure and contents are shown below.

- THE MRM PRODUCTION ACTIVITIES - The importance of the MRMs, the complexity of their production processes and the necessary high-level skills (ore deposits, hydrogeology, chemistry, geo-mechanics, mechanics, fluid dynamics, explosives, mining, etc.). The usefulness of advanced models and specific design methodologies for each phase of the mining activity, including probabilistic approach to problems and an important use of mathematical optimization tools. The historical division into mining and quarrying activities. Articulation of an MRM mining project.

- THE DESIGN OF THE MINING ACTIVITY - The logical and temporal phases of the production process. Geo-resource characterization: geometric reconstruction and estimation of the mining resource, selection of recoverable reserves; geo-mechanical characterization of the formations involved. Choice of mining method. Project of the mine preparation, mining, landfill disposal. Choice and project of the ore dressing method/process and tailings disposal. Mining life.

- UNDERGROUND MINING- Review and analysis of the main underground mining methods as: room and pillars, sub-levels stoping, block caving, longwall mining, continuous mining, leaching process. Criteria for choosing the mining method, the sizing of structures and stoping units. Review of exploitable reserves.

- OPEN PIT MINING - Review and analysis of the main open-pit mining methods. The design of the open pit as a complex analysis of the deposit characteristics and sizing. The optimization of the final pit according to the geo-mechanical characteristics and the grade distribution. Introduction to transport optimization.

- EXCAVATION TECHNOLOGIES - Activities and works that require excavation: access to the mining deposit, ventilation / jet / extraction shafts and stoves, production and transport tunnels, stopes. Review of excavation technologies: mechanical, with explosives and others. Review of techniques and means of drilling. Review of techniques and means of mechanical excavation. Explosive abatement: principles, elementary phases, equipment.

- TRANSPORT TECHNOLOGIES – Mucking and transport activities. Continuous transport and related mining methods. Discontinuous transport and its phases: loading, transportation and extraction. Available vehicles (shovels, scoop-trams, dumpers) and structures (extraction shafts, winzes...).

- USE OF THE EXPLOSIVE - Characteristics of the explosives. Elastic waves and fragmentation. Blasting design. Control of
granulometries. Micro-delays.

- OTHER UNDERGROUND TECHNOLOGIES - The support of the voids. Ventilation. The dewatering.

- THE MAIN STAGES OF THE ORE DRESSING - Review of the main stages of the ore dressing: comminution, classification, separation, enrichment. The tailings disposal, basins and dams.

- QUARRIES, SYNONYMOUS OF PRODUCTION OF MATERIALS OF II CATEGORY - Historical and legal distinction between minerals of I and II category. Specificity of quarry activities. The example of ornamental rock quarries: the specificities of prospecting and evaluating the ornamental rock deposit; the project and the techniques of mining and transport; the blocks transformation and valorisation.

- THE SUSTAINABILITY OF MRM PRODUCTION - The technical-economic sustainability of MRM mining activities. The evolution of the market and production. The problem of MPM renewability, the limitation of resources and the role of recycling from waste and landfills. The impact of MPM's mining activity and environmental sustainability


  • Bruno, Roberto lecture notes (PowerPoint)
  • Ratan Raj Tatiya Surface and underground excavations - Methods, Techniques and Equipment (Balkema Publishers, 2005)
  • Peter Darling SME MINING ENGINEERING HANDBOOK - III Edition, (Society of Mining, Metallurgy and Exploration, 2011)

Teaching methods

  • The lessons are presented with a slide show
  • The exercises will train students to develop numerical methodologies for solving specific problems on electronic spreadsheets

Assessment methods

The exam consists in the preparation and discussion of a paper agreed with the student, which addresses the case of a specific design criteria.

Teaching tools

  • The exercises, carried out at the Didactic-Computer Laboratory, will make use of Microsoft Office programs (EXCEL) and other sw
  • At least one visit to a MRM production site is planned

Office hours

See the website of Roberto Bruno