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Economic mining



Charles George Wamford Lock



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ECONOMIC MINING



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ECONOMIC MINING

A PRACTICAL HANDBOOK

FOR

THE MINER, THE METALLURGIST, AND
THE MERCHANT



f^ BY

C. G. WARNFORD LOCK

MKUBKH or TUB 1K8T1TUTION OF MIKIMO AND MKTALLDBOT
▲ UTUQK or 'PRACTICAL GOLD MINING' AND *TIU£ MINJKIUi' rOC&£T BOOK*
9UTKMlSTKai>EMr WXKTWOfiTU GOLD WlkLDB FBOPIUETABY CO., LD.^ LUCKKOW» XKW SOUTH WALfctf



E. & F, N. SPUN, 125 STRAND

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1895

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JOHN & HENRY GWYNNE, Engineers,

Hammersmith Iron Works, W., and

ed by CjOOgie viii



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89 CANNON ST., B.C.,

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INTRODUCTION.



Notwithstanding a fairly abundant mining literature, there
is no room for doubt that a book founded on the lines of thia
volume will supply a want. The reason for this is that by
the rigid exclusion of matters having only an academic or
liistoric interest, space is afforded for dealing with just those
points which, while perhaps not of a strictly scientific value,
have nevertheless a high eeonamic importance, and go far
towards determining the profitable or unprofitable result of an
undertaking. As mining and metallurgy are industrial pur-
suits, followed with a view to financial gain, the economic
aspect is quite as deserving of study as the highly controversial
questions regarding the history of strata and the genesis of ore
bodies, on which geologists will probably differ till doomsday.
Accepting the beds, and lodes, and veins as accomplished facts,
this book endeavom-s to describe in plain language and with
a practical aim how these deposits may best be worked under
the various conditions encountered, and how the valuable
portion of their contents can most cheaply and effectively be
separated and prepared as marketable commodities.



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X ECONOMIC MINING,

To promote condensation and facility of reference, and to
avoid repetition, those operations which are common to all
mining and metallurgy are first described in general and
comprehensive terms, and as far as possible in natural sequence
Next, the non-metalliferous minerals are taken in alphabetic
order, a chapter being devoted to each, and embracing all the
available practical information respecting their occurrence,
working, extraction, preparation, qualities, uses, valuation, and
commerce, with details of special processes and machinery
employed.

Similar treatment is given to the metals and their ores in
their turn, not omitting the metallurgical operations necessary
for separating allied metals from each other.

Obviously, in the preparation of such a volume it is im-
possible to be independent of the experiences of others, and
therefore originality is to be looked for less in the facts recorded
than in the method of marshalling them, the one aim and object
of the book being Practical Utility.



15 Geobge Street, Mansion House,
London, E.C.

Axtqwt 1895.



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CONTENTS.



FAOR



ProBpecting 1

General indications. Veins. Diamond drills. Sampling
the ore-body. Testing auriferous samples. Sampling base
ores. Developing. Surveys.

Power 15

Sources. Water power. Oil engines. Electric power.
Compressed air.

Drilling 33

Hand drilling. Machine drilling. Special forms of drill.
Tapping wastes containing water.

Blasting 43

Explosives. Tamping. Electric firing. Water cartridges.
Multiple wedges.

Shaft and Well Sinking 51

Methods successfully adopted for overcoming difficulties
in wet and insecure ground.

Ventilation 59

Draft. Shaft fires. Blowers and Fans. Resistance to air-
currents. Cooling and moistening air. Compressed air.

Lighting 65

Safety lamps. Oil v. Electricity.

Draining 71

Elementary water-lifting contrivances. Siphons. Hydrau-
lic ejectors. Pumps of various kinds. Pumping systems
on large scale compared



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Xll



ECONOMIC MINING.



Mining and Winning 81

Shafts, adits, tunnels. Timbering and securing. Over-
head stoping. Underhand stoping. Nevada timbering.
Examples of contingencies requiring modified systems of
working. Rock-filling. Soft ore bodies. Stripping veins.
Flat beds. Long-wall. Pillar and stall. Modifications.
Props. Preserving timbers.

Hauling and Hoisting 103

Wagons, tipplers. Underground haulage systems com-
pared. Hoisting methods, and the conditions which govern
them. Bopes. Drums. Safety cages. Counterbalances.
Self-dumping skips. Coal dumps. Coal conveyors. Wire
rope-ways.

Reducing 121

Principles. Crushers, simple and multiple jaws. Jaw
crushers for fine work. Rolls, dry and wet. Stamps,
special forms. Edge-runners. Rollers. Huntington mill.
Ball mills. Pneumatic pulverisers. Metal for wearing
surfaces. Screens.



Concentrating

Objects of dressing. Specific gravities of minerals. Efibcts
of associated minerals. Separation by water. Jigging,
principles and practice. Jigs. Pyramidal separating
troughs. Vanners. Buddies. Slime frames. Magnetic
separators. Dry concentration.



133



Non-metalliferous Minerals.






Alum


...


153


Amber




155


Arsenic




156


Asbestos




163


Asphalt




167


Borax ...




174


Bromine




179


Cement ...




180




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CONTENTS. xiii

Non-metalliferoos Minerals — cmXinued,

FAGR

Clay 185

CoalandCoke 191

Emery and Corundum ... ... ... ... ... 218

Fluorspar and Felspar ... ... ... ... ... 221

Fuel 225

FuUers' Earth 230

Gems 232

Graphite 249

Gypsum 253

Infusorial Earths 255

Iodine ... ... ... ... ... ... ... 257

Jet 259

Lime 261

Mica 265

Pearls 269

Peat 271

Petroleum, Natural Gas, and Ozokerit ... ... ... 273

Phosphates 292

Pigments 309

Potash 319

Pumice 321

Pyrites 322

Refractory Materials 326

Salt 333

Saltpetres 346

Soda 352

Stone 357

Sulphur 373

Talc 384

Metalliferons Minerals.

Aluminium 387

Antimony 399

Bismuth 408

Chromium 409

Cobalt 411

Copper 415

Gold 465

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XIV



ECONOMIC MINING.



Metalliferons Minerals — con/tntied.



PAOB

Iridium ... ... ... ... ... 485


Iron


, ,




487


Lead




.. ...


515


Manganese ...


.


..


556


Mercury






563


Nickel




..


572


Platinum


,




583


Selenium


,




588


Silver


.




590


Sodium


, ,




619


Tin


.




622


Tungsten




..


636


Uranium


.




638


Zinc






639



Index



653



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ECONOMIC MINING.



PROSPECTING.

WsiLST it is true that some of the most remarkahle mineral deposits
We been discovered by accident, it is also true that the great
majoritj have only been found by persistent search in accordance
with recognised geological facts ; therefore this volume cannot more
fitly be commenced than with a few general hints on the finding of
mineral deposits, and on the approximate estimation of the extent
and richness of the find.

The first indications of a deposit possessing economic value are as
a rule to be met with among the materials forming the beds of
streams, and wherever watercourses have seamed and furrowed the
rocks. Metalliferous deposits should be looked for in hilly districts
as a general rule, though alluvial accumulations may be found in
ocnnparatively flat country. A close study of natural phenomena will
often help in the discovery of mineral wealth. Thus the form and
colour of the surface ; stained patches ; springs of water, whether
sweet or mineralised ; scum floating on water (petroleum, &c.) ; accu-
mulations of earth brought to the surface b^ burrowing animals;
changes in vegetation ; behaviour of the magnetic needle. These, how-
ever, only serve to indicate existence without reference to quantity
or quality. (See also the author's * Miners' Pocket Book,' p. 263.)

Of the special conditions, geographical, stratigraphical, and mine-
ralogical, under which each useful metal, ore, earth, or other sub-
vtance may be profitably sought for, an account will be given under
the heading of the particular product in view, and this information
need not be summarised here. The object of the present chapter is
rather to indicate how the true nature of the deposit may be studied
and learned when its existence has been ascertained.

Fmm. — As a preliminary it will perhaps be expected that some-
thing should be said concerning the source and origin of mineral
veins regarded as a whole. To a certain extent this study borders
on the theoretical side of geology, and is often dismissed by the
"* practical miner" as beneath attention; but the observations of
pckinstaking mining engineers and geologists in recent years have
tended to greatly simplify the subject and to place a proper under-
standing of it within reach of any intelligent miner. Moreover it is
impossible that large-scale mining operations can be profitably con-
ducted without due regard to geological evidence. Without trespass-
ing on matter speci^ly applicable to particular kinds of mineral

B

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2 ECONOMIC MINING.

deposits, it will bo useful to describe the main features of veins in
general.

And here it may be well to warn the captious critic that the term
'* vein " is used in its wide sense as implying a mass of mineral
matter enclosed in rocks of different character and affording useful
metal or ore— in other words an "ore body" — for the multiplication
of such terms as " lode," " reef," " shoot," ** seam," &c., conveys no
information without a detailed description in each instance.

(Contraction of rock formations due to drying, cooling, and con-
solidation, is the primary cause of division planes or " joints," which
often are subsequently magnified by other movements such as earth-
quakes, and afford conveuient; receptacles for the collection of ore-
forming matters. To contraction as the cause of compression are
also to be ascribed the foldings, fissures, and faults, which vary with
the degree of resistance offered by the various beds. Sometimes the
displacement accompanying the crush or faulting may be almost
abtjent, at other times very marked, without affecting the ore body
occupying the fissure. Part of the Comstock vein shows a vertical
displacement of about 3000 ft. As a rule, when the direction of
the fault or displacement is away from the workings, the continua-
tion of the ore body should be sought dxmm the dip, and conversely
when the dip is towards the workings; but sometimes a reverse
fault occurs. Veins occupying fitsures in massive rocks will usually
be more per^iistent on the dip than on the strike (i. e. in depth rather
than in length), but in soft or diversified rocks no rule holds good.

Water, containing carbonic acid derived from the atmosphere,
and possibly organic acids liberated by decaying vegetation, acquires
great solvent powers under the influence of heat and pressure at con-
siderable depths, and is the medium by which fissures are enlarged
and modified, rocks are decomposed, and the selection and interchange
of the constituents are brought about to form the secondary accumu-
lations constituting the ore bodies and mineral deposits utilised by
man. " Metasomatic " interchange between aqueous solutions of
metallic ores and the carbonates of lime and magnesia in limestones
and dolomites accounts for the formation of many metalliferous veins.
The source of the metallic contents themselves is to be found in the
igneous rocks. J. F. Kemp * quotes Dr. Moiicke as finding native
gold in obsidian, plagioclase, and sanidine ; J. S. Cui*tis 9& demonstrat-
ing the existence of silver in quartz-porphyry ; G. F. Becker as dis-
covering gold and silver in diabase, and antimony, arsenic, copper,
gold, lead, and silver in granite ; S. F. Emmons as detecting silver in
porphyry ; and he himself traces copper to augite. Prof. 0. Le Neve
poster t is convinced *' that many of the tin lodes of Cornwall have
been formed by the alteration of granite." Finally, in the author's
-own experience, J both gold and silver have been found in appreciable
quantity in a recent lava near Myvatn, Iceland; and investigations
of the porphyritio rocks asfeociated with the important auriferous
deposits of the Black Hills, South Dakota, carried out under the
author** directions during the past year, proved that gold was present

• * Ore Deposits,* p. 25. t * Ore aiid Stone Miuing,' p. 7.

X • Gold : its Occurrence and Extraction,' p. 715.



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PROSPECTING. 3

io everj specimen examined, and in some cases to the extent of 2\ to
5 oz. per ton.

The question whether the mineral solutions have flowed from above
or from below has occasioned much discussion ; probably each theory
is right in turn and neither is uniyersal. The influence of the wall
rocks has been little observed and less understood ; but it is undoubt-
edly a very important factor in most cases, and demands as much
attention as the study of the ore body itself.

One word in conclusion as to the permanency of ore bodies. A
little reflection will show that generalisations on this head are pure
nonsense. To begin with, the sphere of action of the mineralised
waters which have formed the ore bodies is necessarily limited and
cannot be expected to continue to vast depths. Then again erosion
may have removed the greater part of a deposit, so that what was once
a deep vein now remains only as a shallow one. The only safe guide
is taBferimce of the particular locality. The '' fissure vein " and its per-
manency is a fallacy founded on erroneous notions of the history of
ore bodies ; and while it must be admitted that only exploration will
develop deep-lying deposits, it must be remembered that the rule is
for ore bodies to decline in size and value as the depth increckses,
though of course some exceptions to this rule are encountered. In at
least nine cases out of ten it will be found that if a mine does not pay
for working the upper levels it will pay still lees in depth.

Dianumd DriUs. — The solid core extracted hj the diamond drill
makes it a very useful implement for the prospector. Eecently great
improvements have been made in diamond drilling machinery as
applied to exploratory work in mining. Considerable success is re-
ported to have attended the introduction of these drills, especially in
the operation of iron and coal mines. In mines of these classes
diamond drills are eminently well adapted to the purposes of explora-
tion, because of the peculiar character of the deposits in question.

Compared with the already recognised value of the diamond drill
as an adjunct to the mining plants in coal, iron, copper, lead, and
silver mining operations, the use will be limited in ^old mining.
Nevertheless, there are many classes of gold deposits where diamond
drills can be very advantageously employed for prospecting purposes.
Where the veins are narrow and the pay shoot undergoes apparent
pinchine, or exhibits changes of dip, strike, &c., or where the charac-
ter of the gangue or vein-filling of the pay shoot is of no clearly
marked difference (save in respect of gold tenure) from that of the
barren portion of the reef, their use will not, as a rule, be advanta-
geoua On the other hand, where the pay ore bodies are wide and
the pay shoot is long, and there exists a conspicuous difference between
the pay ore bodies and the barren reefs as to the character of the
vein-filling, &c, drills may be of utility.



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