The mining business is becoming a big business all over the world, but recently it is booming more in Africa. Africans initially believe it is a business that is meant for both government and organizations, not what an individual can venture into. Having had much exposure and learning more about the nitty-gritty of the business, many Africans a pooling their resources together and venturing into the mining business.

However, it is very crucial to note that before we go into the real definition of mining, there is a need for more clarification on the topic. This is owing to the modern development and enlightenment in many aspects of businesses including the evolution of new technology. Mining has taken a different dimension in meaning and you have to identify yourself with the type of mining you are into before you can be recognized as a miner. Most words related to mining are becoming too technical, and to venture into the business deep knowledge of the mining business is necessary and required, for proper clarification and identification.

What Is Mining?

However, the word “mining” has a different meaning now, if you do not specify clearly another interpretation might be ascribed to the true meaning and your original intention. If we are to explain what the mining business is all about, we have to understand the concept of mining. Mining is simply the extraction of useful and valuable mineral resources from the earth’s crust deposits. Mining as a business involves excavating areas tested to have valuable deposits of these valuable minerals, checking for their profit potential, and processing it into finished resources.


Types Of Mining

Although mining has other meanings and types which is cryptocurrency mining, we will be discussing it later in this topic. But this article is majorly for digging and excavating the earth’s crust in order to find natural resources. There are two major types and reasons for mining in this category which are for:

  1. Small scale mining: This is the involvement of a small group of individuals that survey areas to find valuable minerals. These individuals extract minerals from those areas and take them to companies where they will be processed. This kind of small-scale mining is normally practiced in some parts of African countries such as Central Africa, Ghana, Nigeria, etc.
  1. Large scale mining: These are companies or government forms of mining that involve the use of a large labor force, sophisticated machinery, and advanced tools. These complex types of machinery and tools are used to excavate valuable minerals from the earth’s crust. This kind of large-scale mining is normally practiced in advanced countries such as Brazil, Russia, the USA, etc.

Divisions Of Mining

There are various mining divisions and these divisions are expatiated as follows:

  1. Dredging: is the underwater excavation of sand by using floating equipment. This dredging can be classified as mechanical or hydraulic depending on the system of operation.
  1. Quarrying: This is a form of open-pit mining in which gravels, sand, dimensions stones, and rock aggregate are excavated from the ground and broken into smaller pieces for construction purposes and commercial usage.
  1. Industrial Mining: This involves the process of excavation of mineral resources from earth deposits and ore in their natural form by processing them into valuable resources for economic purposes.

Mining Processing

Mining has various exploitation processes and each process of mining leads to the other:

  1. Open-pit Mining And Underground

This involves surveying areas that have deposits of minerals and checking the quantity of minerals deposits, in those areas so that they can be prepared for exploitation. Open pit mining is the most widely used technique in mining sites today. It is accomplished by creating and using benches or terraces to gradually reach deeper under the earth’s surface. While Underground mining is used when the minerals resources are not near the earth’s surface.

Underground Mining is used to extract minerals from below the surface of the earth safely, economically, and with little waste. The entry from the surface to an underground mine may be through a horizontal or vertical tunnel, known as an inclined shaft or vertical shaft. The incline shaft can be used for main minerals transportation and ventilation, and the vertical shaft can act as the main entrance for employees and materials. Underground mining is practical when the mineral is too deep to mine profitably by open-pit.

  1. Crushing

Crushing is the next stage in the mining process and it is the process of size reduction of minerals. The size reduction process begins with the usage of explosives in the area for the production of minerals. However, the size reduction process performed with crushers before grinding in mills is the crushing process. Moreover, the limit is not set, the downsizing process over 3 mm is considered as “crushing” and the ones below 3 mm are considered “grinding”. Even though the ore is reduced below 3 mm with conical and some impact crushers, this process is called crushing. All this involves the breakdown of rocks into smaller pieces that can be easily transported.

  1. Transportation

The next process after crushing is transport which involves using the transport belted conveyor to transport the wasted rock from one tunnel to another. Minerals can be moved from mines and processing plants to consumers in many ways e.g., conveyors, trams, and trucks move minerals around mines, short distances from mines to consumers close to the mines, or to other modes of long-distance transportation. In the United States trains transport more of minerals deliveries for the most part of the way from mines to consumers. The barges transport minerals through rivers and lakes.

  1. Grinding And Sizing

Another stage in the mining process is the grinding and sizing; this involves taking the wasting rocks from the open pit and Underground. Take these large rocks to a semi-autogenous grinding mill where they will be grinding to fine particles and size. Grinding is a powdering or pulverizing process using the rock mechanical forces of impaction and attrition. The reason for grinding is to liberate individual minerals trapped in rock and for proper separation purposes.

  1. Leaching And Adsorption 

This involves the use of chemicals to process the minerals. The chemical that is being used to process this mineral is a cyanide liquid called sodium cyanide which makes it clean and pure. After the leaching process is complete, the soluble mineral must be concentrated and separated from the process slurry. The method of recovery of minerals from the process slurry is carbon adsorption. Adsorption is a term used to describe the attraction of a mineral compound to the surface of another material. 

  1. Rehabilitation And Closure

The final stage in the mining process is the reclamation of the land that has been mined which involves regenerating the final land used after closure. It also reduces the impact of mining on the environment. The impact caused by mining is called soil erosion. It also helps to assess the value of the land already mined. Mine closure is a process undertaken when the operational stage of a mine is ending or has ended, and the final decommissioning and mine rehabilitation is underway. Mine rehabilitation is the restoration of the post-mined landscape to the intended post-mining land use or other purposes.

Types of Mining Instruments 

Mining instruments are classified into three based on their usage which are Extraction, material processing, and material handling.

There are various mining instruments used in mining

  1. Large Mining Trucks

This heavy truck helps to move materials at surface mines. It also helps to haul materials up steep slopes. The most popular and commonly used is the Caterpillar 797F, a class dump truck manufactured and developed by Caterpillar, which is one of the biggest mining dump trucks in the world. It can carry 400t of payload capacities. This truck is heavy, big, solid, and rugged.

  1. Hydraulic Mining Shovels

It is used for moving mined minerals, digging, scooping minerals into a loader, remove dirt from surface minerals. A hydraulic mining shovel is a heavy equipment that can be either with tires or track. A normal hydraulic shovel is a track-driven machine that is used for digging coal or other minerals from the earth’s crust and loading it into large mining trucks or other huge trucks to be driven to a mill. 

  1. Bulldozer Or Large Dozer

A bulldozer or large dozer helps to push surface minerals away to expose the mine sites. It also helps to push dirt and large quantities of earth material from the mining site by using a metal plate and helps to reclaim lands around the mine sites. In mining, large dozers are used for excavating, shoveling, and dragline assistance. It does ripping, pushing coal, towing, and positioning heavy equipment or machinery. It also does the leveling and preparation of materials and equipment for excavations.

  1. Electric Rope Shovels

It helps to remove overbidding from mine sites, digging through hard sites, and removing boulders. An electric mining shovel, also called a front shovel, is a large machine used for excavating large amounts of material using cables and a bucket. They are usually electric-powered and are majorly used in open-cut mining systems.

  1. Rotary Drill Rigs And Drills

Rotary drilling helps to create holes for blasting charges of surface mining and expanding mines. It is mainly used to make a deep observation borehole and to obtain samples of rock. The drilling method involves a powered rotary cutting head on the end of a shaft, driven into the ground as it rotates.

  1. Motor Grader

The motor grader is used to push surface minerals to clear roads and construct haul roads. A motor grader also called a grader is a heavy-duty machine manufactured with a long blade that is used in many industry sectors. Motor graders are commonly used in civil construction, roadworks, and mining sites for creating smooth and flat surfaces.

  1. Large Wheel Loaders

Large wheel loader is used for loading minerals on trucks for transport and digging, and are majorly used for loading materials into trucks, laying pipe, clearing rubble, and digging. A loader is not the most efficient machine for digging because it cannot dig very deep below the level of its wheels, as both backhoe and an excavator can.

  1. Draglines

Draglines are large excavators used to remove exposure materials such as tar sand from a strip mine. They are used just like cranes, draglines are used mainly for open-pit operations to dismantle and transport materials. In mining operations, draglines are used to remove overburden from mines. Draglines are large stripping shovels or excavators. They can also be referred to as large crane-like machines.

  1. Wheel Tractor Scrapers

Wheel tractor scraper is used for making initial cuts into the land for a mine. It is also used to build roads and reclaim lands. As one of the equipment in your mining fleet, you achieve a versatile tool that can provide value in multiple applications, starting from reclamation and primary mining to building roads and making the initial box-cut. They work as selective mining tools, so you can pick specific areas in the mine and quickly send the scraper fleet to work there.

  1. Underground Mining Loader And Trucks

An underground mining loader is majorly used for transporting materials to the surface of the earth. It is a machine used in transporting minerals and extracting ores and rock waste. Also, good for evening out the ground and discharging slag and ore at the stop. It can also be uploaded on the lower chute, higher transport vehicle, or mining cart.   

  1. Metal Detector 

This is used to detect nearby metals; it is also used to check for metals buried underground. Metal detectors for mining are used to detect metal contaminants that get accidentally mixed up with the products during production. Its uses include detecting land mines, the detection of weapons like knives and guns, geophysical prospecting, archaeology, and treasure hunting.

12. Excavator

Excavators used in mining generally have tracks for moving and are powered by diesel (or sometimes electricity). Excavators are common in most open-cut mines and are a great tool for excavating overburden, and coal, cleaning batters or rills, digging ramps, or creating a suitable dig face for a shovel.

Types Of Minerals And Their Importance

Mineral resources are divided into two categories. Metallic and Non-metallic Mineral Resources. The metals are hard, conduct current and heat also can be radiant and bright. These metals are metallic minerals, such as silver, tin, copper, aluminum, zinc, gold, and nickel. Metallic minerals compose raw metal and are specified as ferrous metal and non-ferrous metal.

Furthermore, iron minerals are ferrous minerals like Iron ore, manganese, etc. Non-iron minerals are non-ferrous minerals such as lead, silver, gold, and copper. There are some chemical elements that can not be melted to form a new product. These elements are non-metallic minerals e.g., diamond, ruby, sand, gypsum, and emerald. Non-metallic minerals are radiant and shiny and not extractable metals by chemical combinations. There are various kinds of minerals that are mined from the earth’s crust.

  1. Limestone 

This is a mineral obtained from the sedimentary layer of the earth’s crust and it is used for making cement and in the construction of roads and buildings. Portland cement is made from limestone which if it is combined with aggregates makes concrete. Also, It is the main ingredient of animal feed supplements, especially for poultry feed.

  1. Gold

This is another very valuable mineral that is used in making jewelry, arts, coins, and medals. People use gold for making jewelry, coinage, and bullion. Gold is also used as an electrical conductor in computers, circuits, appliances, cell phones, and many more. Dental fixing like braces and the false tooth, gilding, etc.

  1. Gypsum

Gypsum is used for making cement, wallboard, soil conditioning, and as a hardening retarder in industrial building plasters, and prefabricated wallboard. Gypsum is used for constructing buildings. Also for making pottery and for dental appliances to make casts, moulds, and impression material. Filler ingredients in many foods. In Agriculture, it is used as a fertilizer, it is also used as a fluxing agent, and in paper and textile.

  1. Silver

Silver is used for making coins, medals, photography equipment, and jewelry. It is used for jewelry and silver tableware, where conspicuous is needed. Silver is used for making mirrors, and is the best reflector of visible light known, although it does corrode with time. It is also used for dental alloys, brazing alloys, electrical contacts, and batteries.

  1. Potash

Potash which is the same as potassium is another valuable mineral used in fertilizers, medicines and to make industrial chemicals. Potash is used in fertilizers to support plant growth, it increases crop yield and disease resistance, and also stimulates water preservation. Some little quantities are used in manufacturing chemicals that contain potassium like detergents and soaps, deicer (snow and ice melting), and ceramics.

  1. Diamond

This is the most valuable mineral that is used for making drilling bits to cut rocks. It is also used for polishing stones and ceramics. Diamonds are what most people know that serve as a gem in jewelry. These gems serve as a valuable source of income for the economy. Diamond is the first choice of gift item in both engagements and weddings it is usually more appreciated by women. It is beautiful and unique when placed with other metals such as platinum, silver, gold, titanium, etc. It is used in making vehicles, especially most luxury cars that have diamonds. 

  1. Graphite

This is a crystal form of carbon that is used for dry lubricants, steel hardeners, and pencils. Graphite is also used as writing materials, lubricants, paint, refractory, nuclear reactors, batteries, graphene sheets,  polishes, arc lamps, batteries, brushes for electric motors, and cores of nuclear reactors. It is mined predominantly in India, Brazil, North Korea, China, and Canada.

  1. Iodine

Iodine is a type of mineral that is naturally found in the soil and ocean waters. Many saltwater and plant-based foods contain iodine, and this mineral is most available in iodized salt, it is a valuable mineral that is used as an antibacterial agent in soaps and cleaning products in restrooms

  1. Lead

Lead is another mineral that is used in batteries, construction, ammunition, and television tubes. It is still used for weights for lifting, car batteries, pigments, ammunition, cable sheathing, weight belts for diving, lead crystal glass, radiation protection, and soldiers.

10. Tin

This is used to manufacture cans, electric equipment, and containers. The applications of tin are in tinplate, solder alloys, bearing metals, tin and alloy coatings plated and hot-coated, bronzes, and fusible alloys. Tin is also used to coat other metals to prevent corrosion, such as cans made of tin and tin-coated steel.

11. Mica

Mica commonly occurs as flakes or shreds and is used to make plastic and paints. In the cosmetics industry, its reflective and refractive properties make mica an important ingredient in blushes, eyeliner, eye shadow, foundation, hair and body glitter, lipstick, lip gloss, mascara, moisturizing lotions, and nail polish.

12. Aluminium

The most abundant minerals on the earth’s crust occur as oxides and it is used in the construction of buildings most especially roofs. Aluminium is used in some industries manufacturing cans, coil, and aluminium wraps. It is also used in the production of cooking pots, vehicle pistons, cylinders, fan blades, watches, vehicle number plates, and pieces of jewelry. It is also used for manufacturing doors, windows, wires, and roofing.

13. Cobalt

This mineral resource is used primarily in superalloy as an aircraft gas turbine engine and for cutting tools. Cobalt is mostly used in electroplating because of its appearance, hardness, and resistance to oxidation. Cobalt compounds are used to create a rich blue color in ceramics, pottery, glass, glazes, porcelain, tiles, and enamels.

14. Feldspar

A rock-forming mineral is industrially important in glass and ceramics and it is also used to make fertilizer. Feldspar is a popular raw material used in glassmaking, ceramics, and extender in paint, plastics, and rubber. In glassmaking, alumina from feldspar improves product solidity, durability, and also resistance to chemical corrosion.

15. Iron ore

Iron ore composition is found in sedimentary rocks and is mined to produce almost every iron and steel object that we use from paper clips to automobiles to the steel beams in skyscrapers.

However, other minerals that are mined on the earth’s crust are nickel, sulfur, titanium, zinc silicon, and quartz. This is to tell you that over 3000 minerals can be mined from the earth’s crust.

Advantages Of Mining

There are various advantages of mining as a business. Mining is a business that helps generate revenues for both taxes and duties. It is a business that helps to create business opportunities for companies. Also, mining is also a source of non-scientific and non-agricultural resources and has an advantage over the global market for industrial resources.

Moreover, It is a sustainable income for investors and mine owners, it helps to generate income and revenue for the economy of the country. It supplies important resources and assists technological progress and development in the country. Mining is a necessity for many products of our daily life and also a business that can help poor regions to develop and progress by creating employment opportunities.

Factors To Consider Before Starting Mining Business

  1. Location

One of the most important factors you should consider before starting a mining business is the location for citing mining companies. Does this location favor the people who are living there or does it have adverse effects? Is the location of the mining industry close to the market to reduce the cost of production? These are the questions you should consider when choosing a location for a mining business.

  1. Nature Of Land 

Another thing you should consider before starting a mining business is to look at the nature of the land that will be used. Does the land have valuable mineral resources? Has the land been surveyed to determine the profitable value of the minerals resources? Finally, does it have a large deposit of those mineral resources?

  1. Cost of Mining

Another thing you should consider before starting any mining business is the cost involved in mining. One thing you should know is that the mining business is very expensive especially when you are starting a mining business for the first time. So you will have to estimate the total cost of starting a mining business. This will help you to determine how to source funds.

  1. Labor Cost

Another thing you should consider before starting a mining business is the cost of labor which is the building block of your business. Labor cost is very important because it determines the number of employees you will need to employ in your business. It will also help you to know the amount you will be paying the employees every month. Even if you are just starting a mining business on a small scale.

  1. Cost Of Equipment And Tools

Another thing you should consider before starting a mining business is the cost of getting equipment. These equipment are those complex and advanced tools that make the mining process easy. Getting these tools is quite expensive but necessary because it helps you to determine how much money you can make from the business. Some of the equipment that is mostly used for the mining business are excavators and bulldozers.

  1. Current Market Price And Value Of The Minerals

Another thing you should consider when starting a mining business is to check the current price and value of mineral resources. The reason is that knowing the market value of minerals will help you to determine how many minerals you can produce. It will also determine how much money you can make selling those minerals. It will also determine the profits you will make from each mineral you produce and sell. Doing this will prevent you from spending unnecessary money on the cost of production.

How To Start Mining Business

There are various ways you can get started with the mining business even if you are going to do it on a small scale.

  1. Get a license or permit

This is very important because having a license or permit to start your mining business prevents you from violating government policies.

  1. Business plan

Another thing that will help you to get started with the mining business is having a business plan. A business plan helps to be able to know the cost of mining, how to estimate the labor cost, and the overall cost of starting a mining business in total. So getting a business plan is a necessity for starting any business.

  1. Surveying Of Mining Sites

Another thing you should do when starting a mining business is to survey for locations for mining. Do those locations have large deposits of minerals you can easily excavate? Looking at this condition helps you to be able to mine and utilize the resources available efficiently.

  1. Site Prospecting

Another thing you should consider before starting a mining business is prospecting the location for the deposit of minerals. This will help you to determine how many minerals you can excavate and produce daily.

  1. Set Up Mining Machinery And Tools

Another thing you should know before starting a mining business is how you can buy or lease the tools and equipment needed for mining. This includes the cost of transportation of minerals and workers.

  1. Power Supply And Housing

Among the most important thing, you should consider before starting a mining business is the availability of power supply. Without a power supply, the mining process will not be very efficient. Also, the workers’ houses or living quarters should be very close to the mining sites. This will prevent the workers from spending money on transport.

  1. Excavation Process

The mining process begins when there is an adequate power supply, advanced tools, and other conditions necessary for the mining process. This excavation process is necessary for the mining process because it determines the amount of deposit of minerals present in an area.

Cryptocurrencies Mining Is Another Way of Mining

Like I said earlier another meaning of meaning is cryptocurrency mining. In this type of mining, there is no need for earth-moving machines and digging of soil. There are methods by which Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies are created and the transactions involving new coins are verified, it is known as mining. It includes huge, decentralized networks of computers all over the world that certify and safeguard blockchains, which are virtual ledgers that record cryptocurrency transactions.

There are no laws and regulations that ban people from mining cryptocurrency for now. However, since public cryptocurrencies are mined by using the miners’ resources, no laws have been designed for this process yet. This is a new topic and course on its own, we shall come out with a basic guide and process on how to mine cryptocurrencies in your home. Please look out for the topic on this site.


Finally, the mining business is a profitable business that is worth $1641.67 billion dollars as of 2020 this is expected to increase in the following years, and this is because of the challenges involved in the mining process. Some of the advanced countries that are practicing mining business on a large scale face some of these environmental hazards. That is why you need experts who have experience in the mining business industry to guide you. I believe this will help you to start a profitable mining business.

Edited By,

Prince Modupe Kashaam

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