Heavy machinery used within the mining industry has numerous purposes:
- assessment and development;
- to eradicate and stockpile overburden;
- to break and eliminate rocks of various hardness and toughness;
- to process the ore;
- reclamation efforts after the mine is closed;
Mining machinery necessary for excavating the land are essentially bulldozers, drills, explosives and trucks. In order to attain samples for examination and various study purposes, sink shafts or excavate stopes, massive drills are utilised to sink shafts.
Miners need transportation during their daily operations. Trams are used to achieve this transportation for the mine workers. Trams are also used to transport minerals and waste.
Lifts transfer miners in and out of mines in addition to transporting rock out of the mine and machinery in and out. Enormous trucks, shovels and cranes are hired in surface mining in order to achieve moving big amounts of overburden and ore. Processing plants can apply large crushers, mills, reactors, roasters and further equipment to combine the mineral-rich material and extract the desired compounds and metals from the rock. After the mineral is extracted it is then typically processed. The science of extraction metallurgy is a specialized area in the science of metallurgy that studies the extraction of valuable metals from their ores, particularly through compound or mechanical means.
Mineral processing is a dedicated area in the science of metallurgy that examines the mechanical means of crushing, grinding, and washing that enable the separation of valuable metals or minerals from their gangue. Processing of ore material entails gravity-dependent methods of separation, such as sluice boxes. Only slight shaking or washing may be essential to unclump the sands or gravels prior to processing. Processing of ore from a lode mine involves the crushing of rock and pulverized before extraction of the valuable minerals begins. After lode ore is crushed, recovery of the valuable minerals is done by one, or a combination of several, mechanical and chemical techniques.
As most metals exist in ores as oxides or sulphides, the metal requires to be reduced to its metallic form. This can be achieved through chemical means such as smelting or through electrolytic reduction, as in the case of aluminium. Geometallurgy joins the geologic sciences with extractive metallurgy and mining.