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Excavation methods
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Publish-date-icon December 10, 2011
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What are the most important changes that marked the mining and quarrying sector during the last ten years?

A major development is the increased consumption and excavation of mineral-based raw materials in the construction industry. Growth was of 244% in 2007 compared to 2006. In industrial countries, the annual consumption of mineral-based raw materials in constructionis about 14 tones per capita. The raw material requirements in the developing countries are also gradually approaching that rate.

What is making changes in the degree of use of existing fields?

During the last two decades, one third of the world has consumed two-thirds of raw materials. In the future, the amount consumed by just one third of the world's population will have to suffice the needs of three quarters of this population.

The aim must be to ensure the optimal use and excavation of available raw materials in areas of existing mines and quarries by forcing technological innovations in the field of mining and processing. However, the development of methods and appropriate excavation machines remains a challenge for research and industry. In particular, the development of environmentally friendly machines can have a positive effect on the approval process.

What methods of excavation have the most important role today? Are there alternatives?

The main methods are always those of the drilling and blasting. However, many alternatives are available - without explosives techniques, including use of hydraulic hammers. The development of these techniques began in the 60’s when Krupp introduced a hydraulic hammer for concrete and masonry. The first hydraulic hammers had an impact energy of 1.3 KJ. The hydraulic hammers have now implemented an operating weight of up to 7 tons and the latest was Atlas Copco which reached even 10 tons. Originally designed for demolition in the construction industry, this type of machine has been optimized for the field of mining, especially for the slaughter of building materials.


Excavation and extraction technologies without explosives are an excellent alternative to drilling and mining, especially in the case of deposits that are tectonically very busy and heavy layers of sediment. Their use will generally reduce emissions. In addition, these technologies allow carrying out a cull and thus ensuring efficient operation of the deposits and facilitate quality insurance. It is even possible to combine different techniques operating without explosives.Scientific and economic studies have shown that the non- explosive techniques can offer business benefits in the context of certain constraints. As pointed out before, the further development of excavation and extraction technologies without explosives is a challenge for research and business.


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