Here is an example to hold before the kids. Here is an opportunity to show ‘em what can be done. Here is the piece to send them to when they ask for help with their homework.

Trawling the internet, I chanced on the school science fair project of two kids whose picture we reproduce here from their site.

They hail from Saskatchewan and focus on mining in that province. But they take an international view: For example, on uranium they write: “Uranium is exported to electric utilities in other parts of Canada, the United States and many other countries. Besides its major use for energy, uranium is also used to color glass and ceramic glazes, for medial diagnosis and treatment, and for food preservations.”

I enjoyed their bold descriptions of underground mining methods:

Room-and-Pillar Mining – A method that recovers ore from ore-bodies. Miners obtain the ore-body as completely as possible. This is the most useful method of underground mining in the United States. Materials commonly mined with this technique are coal, lead, limestone, potash, salt and uranium.

Longwall Mining - Also used to dig ore from seams. Miners use a machine to cut or break ore from a single long face, called a long-wall. These procedures are real similar to room-and-pillar mining.

Sublevel Mining - Used in ore-bodies with a steep dip. Miners develop sub-levels between the main levels and drill and blast the ore from both the sub-levels and main levels. Stopes form as the ore is removed from the ground.

Cut-and-Fill Mining - A method of removing ore from vertical veins, starting at the bottom of the stope and moving upwards. After getting the ore, they refill the stope with waste material called gangue.

Block Caving - This is a way of mining ores such as copper and iron when they are scattered through out the waste material. The miners dig levels, and divide the ore-body into large sections or blocks. Large machines export the ore to openings called passes.

Sub-level Caving - Used in large, steeply dipping ore-bodies. Miners divide the ore-body into sub-levels 25 to 50 feet apart. Procedures are similar to block caving.

A fun site—go take a look.