Mining for Raw Materials Steel Foundations
In the process of making steel, mining is the very first step, as many of the materials required in the steelmaking process are naturally occurring minerals in the earth’s crust. Mining is the process of obtaining these minerals using a pit or excavation in the earth.
The mining process typically starts with finding the best place for a mine using geology and ore exploration, followed by test drilling, sampling and evaluation.
If mining is feasible, it proceeds with drilling, blasting, hauling, crushing, separating, pelletizing, and ultimately, steelmaking.
Most iron ores are extracted via surface mining. Some underground mines exist, but wherever possible, surface mining is preferred because it is less expensive.
To extract ores from a surface mine, soil and overlying rock are cleared, the ore is drilled, and explosives are used to blast the hard ore into small pieces. Following blasting, the fractured ore is loaded by huge electrical shovels, hydraulic excavators, or front-end loaders onto large dump trucks. Most ore leaves the mine by rail, after which, much is transferred to ships. In either case, the raw ore is transported for additional processing, including crushing, separating, and pelletizing, to prepare the ore for the ironmaking process.