Energy Conservation Through Rock Disintegration


A considerable amount of the total energy required to process ore, from its original state in the ground to the final separated and crushed material is expended in transporting and crushing the surrounding waste rock, which has no ultimate benefit to the process. A technique wherein the rock is mined and separated from the surrounding host rock at the rock face is described. In this process, by using high-pressure waterjets to grow the existing boundary cracks around existing rock grains, the rock can be disintegrated into particles of the constituents. In large part, mineral of interest and the gangue form different size fractions and will have different densities. This makes it relatively simple to carry out an initial separation of the valuable components of the ore at the mining machine, or in its immediate vicinity. This significantly reduces the overall energy required both to transport material from the face to the processing plant, and also the amount of energy required in crushing the material to further liberate the valuable mineral. As an alternative application of the technology, a similar process can be used to disintegrate, and easily mine some oil sand deposits, pulverizing and pumping out the rock, allowing full oil recovery, before the sand is re-injected as backfill into the cavity.

Meeting Name

Alaska Rocks, The 40th U.S. Symposium on Rock Mechanics (USRMS) (2005: Jun. 25-29, Anchorage, Alaska)


Mining Engineering

Second Department

Geosciences and Geological and Petroleum Engineering

Keywords and Phrases

Host Rock; Ore; Waste Rock

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)


Document Type

Article - Conference proceedings

Document Version


File Type





© 2005 American Rock Mechanics Association (ARMA), All rights reserved.

Publication Date

01 Jun 2005