Mining as an Industry / Role of Minerals in a Country’s Economy

Mining as an Economic Resource

Mining as an Industry

Mining is an economic activity in which human beings dig out organic and inorganic resources from the Earth’s interior to use them for their benefits. These resources are known as minerals. Although, mining is a primary economic activity like agriculture, yet its importance has been increasing with the passage of time. In this modern age, it has turned into a proper industry. Mining provides both basic and power minerals. All these resources are important elements of the national and international trade.

Role of Minerals in a Country’s Economy

Minerals play an important role in the economic development of a country. The countries with rich mineral resources have progressed considerably. These countries have achieved industrial progress on the basis of their minerals. For example, USA, Russia and European countries are earning a lot of foreign exchange through the trade of their industrial products. Various countries are earning foreign exchange through the direct export of minerals. For example, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates and Venezuela earn foreign exchange by exporting petroleum, whereas South Africa, Peru and Australia do so by exporting gold and diamonds.

Favourable Conditions for Mining

Mining activities require fair weather conditions. In areas where there is open-pit mining, excessive rainfall may cause hurdles. Extreme hot or cold environment also causes difficulties in mining.

Sufficient quantity of water should be available for mining.

Modern machinery is required for the mining of high value minerals like gold, silver, platinum and diamonds, which are found deep in the earth requires huge expenditure. If the reserves of such minerals resources are not large enough, their mining is not profitable.

Minerals are found mostly in far-flung and difficult areas. Thus, better means of transportation are required to transport machinery, man power and minerals.

Types of Mining

Mining has the following major types:

Hand-Panning Mining

Mineral particles are found in sand and alluvium of rivers in mountain valleys and the adjoining plain areas. This technique is used for the mining of particles of gold, platinum, silver and even diamonds.

Open-Pit Mining

In the areas where minerals are found near the earth’s surface, they are extracted by digging open pits. This technique is used to extract iron ore, copper, zinc, salt and clay etc.

Tunnel Mining

Coal and some other minerals are usually found in horizontal strata. Long tunnels are dug out for their extraction.

Hydraulic Mining

This technique is useful in the areas where minerals are found near the earth’s surface and the rocks are soft and unstable. In this condition, the rocks are broken by sharp flow of water to separate minerals.

Shaft Mining

Minerals are usually found very deep in the earth. Vertical bores are made to reach these minerals. This technique is used to extract petroleum and natural gas etc. Apart from these, the same technique is used to reach the deposits of precious minerals like gold, copper, platinum and diamonds

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