Mining Knowledge Center
Expertise across the complete mine lifecycle.
The mining industry has its own unique terminology, and the aggregate, hard rock, and coal submarkets have their own specific terminology, too. CEC’s clients have relied on our multi-disciplined team’s expertise for more than 30 years. With this glossary, we hope to share more of that expertise and also help to enhance communications with our clients.
Acidic run-off water from mine waste dumps and mill tailings ponds containing sulphide minerals. Also refers to ground water pumped to the surface from mines.
An opening driven horizontally into the side of a mountain or hill for providing access to a mineral deposit.
Comprehensive consulting and measurement services provided by CEC’s multidisciplinary team of air quality experts. These services help cost-effectively balance operational flexibility and regulatory compliance. Our in-house QSTI-certified testing personnel perform source emissions testing using continuous emissions monitoring systems and other specialized instruments. CEC is an accredited Air Emission Testing Body (AETB) as determined by a joint evaluation of the Stack Testing Accreditation Council (STAC) and the American Association for Laboratory Accreditation (A2LA).
Relatively recent deposits of sedimentary material laid down in river beds, flood plains, lakes, or at the base of mountain slopes. (adj. alluvial)
A chemical test performed on a sample of ores or minerals to determine the amount of valuable metals contained.
Waste material used to fill the void created by mining an orebody.
A full range of biological monitoring services offered by CEC to mining clients in the aggregate, coal and hardrock industries. We own and operate boats, sophisticated testing equipment, and capture gear, and we also provide a wide variety of laboratory analyses.
Exploration work that’s done close to or at existing mines.
An agreement to pay a certain amount of interest over a given period of time.
Any large-scale, mechanized method of mining involving many thousands of tonnes of ore being brought to the surface per day.
A carbonaceous rock mined for use as a fuel.
The metamorphic process of forming coal.
A fine, powdery product of the milling process containing a high percentage of valuable metal.
A piece of mining equipment that produces a continuous flow of ore from the working face.
A method of extracting exposed gold or silver grains from crushed or ground ore by dissolving it in a weak cyanide solution.
CEC’s sensible solutions for dam and impoundment projects, in which we provide a streamlined approach to engineering that accounts for management of risk, addresses regulatory obligations, protects the environment, and minimizes bottom-line costs.
Drilling to establish accurate estimates of mineral reserves.
Ore carrying small particles of valuable minerals spread more or less uniformly through the host rock.
The degree of care and caution required before making a decision; loosely, a financial and technical investigation to determine whether an investment in a mine property is sound.
The process of purifying metal ingots that are suspended as anodes in an electrolytic bath, alternated with refined sheets of the same metal that act as starters or cathodes.
Audits of corporate environmental health and safety programs; compliance with permit limits and state and federal regulations; and corporate policies and procedures performed by CEC. Our audits are designed to help prepare and implement cost-effective solutions and improve systems for maintaining and tracking regulatory compliance.
A written report, compiled prior to a production decision, that examines the effects proposed mining activities will have on the natural surroundings.
CEC’s actions to determine the presence or absence of protected species, offer measures to provide mitigation solutions, work with regulators to resolve conflicts, and recommend a permitting strategy. We’re experienced with natural channel stream design, watershed-based restoration, and on-site mitigation projects.
Prospecting, sampling, mapping, diamond drilling and other work involved in searching for ore.
A milling process in which valuable mineral particles are induced to become attached to bubbles and float as others sink.
A scientific method of prospecting that measures the physical properties of rock formations. Common properties investigated include magnetism, specific gravity, electrical conductivity, and radioactivity
A process whereby valuable metals, usually gold and silver, are leached from a heap, or pad, of crushed ore by leaching solutions percolating down through the heap and collected from a sloping, impermeable liner below the pad.
The rock surrounding an ore deposit.
Non-metallic, non-fuel minerals used in the chemical and manufacturing industries. Examples are asbestos, gypsum, salt, graphite, mica, gravel, building stone, and talc.
Scanning features within an environment using Light Detection and Ranging (LiDAR) equipment to produce a three-dimensional (3D) model. LiDAR utilizes a laser light and reflected light to measure distances. The equipment can be used on drones, vehicles, and standalone terrestrial equipment such as a tripod. Typically used for topographic surveys and as-builts.
The plan for the way in which a company will mine in a particular area and for how long.
A bedded, sedimentary deposit consisting chiefly of calcium carbonate.
Coal used to make steel.
CEC provides groundwater/surface-water interaction model recalibration, and groundwater monitoring and remediation system design and operation. We also evaluate dewatering and supply well design. For impacted water, we perform assimilate capacity studies, determine TMDL effluent limits, and design active and passive water treatment systems.
Ore reserves that are known to be extractable using a given mining plan.
A mine that is entirely on surface. Also referred to as an open-cut or open-cast mine.
A natural concentration of valuable material that can be extracted and sold at a profit.
A chemical reaction caused by exposure to oxygen that results in a change in the chemical composition of a mineral.
A block of solid ore or other rock left in place to structurally support the shaft, walls, or roof of a mine.
A building or group of buildings in which a process or function is carried out; at a mine site it will include warehouses, hoisting equipment, compressors, maintenance shops, offices, and the mill or concentrator.
Valuable mineralization not sampled enough to accurately estimate the terms of tonnage and grade. Also called “indicated reserves.”
Relatively scarce minerals such as lithium, niobium, and yttrium.
The restoration of a site after mining or exploration activity is completed. CEC provides a range of engineering and environmental services to all sectors (aggregate, coal, and hard rock) of the mining industry for the safe reclamation and closure of mines and processing facilities.
A preliminary survey or geologic investigation of mineral deposits.
The calculated amount of material in a mineral deposit based on limited drill information.
A method of mining flat-lying ore deposits in which the mined-out area, or rooms, are separated by pillars of approximately the same size.
Secondary rocks formed from material derived from other rocks and laid down under water. Examples are limestone, shale, and sandstone.
A vertical or inclined excavation in rock for the purpose of providing access to an orebody. Usually equipped with a hoist at the top, which lowers and raises a conveyance for handling workers and materials.
A metallurgical technique, so far applied only to copper ores, in which metal is dissolved from the rock by organic solvents and recovered from solution by electrolysis.
An open-pit mine, usually a coal mine, operated by removing overburden, excavating the coal seam, then returning the overburden.
Industrial development that does not detract from the potential of the natural environment to provide benefits to future generations.
Material rejected from a mill after most of the recoverable valuable minerals have been extracted.
A low-lying depression used to confine tailings, the prime function of which is to allow enough time for heavy metals to settle out or for cyanide to be destroyed before water is discharged into the local watershed.
A category of surveys provided by CEC that can include habitat assessments and flora and fauna surveys for environmental planning and impact studies; endangered species presence or absence surveys along with protection and enhancement plans; and baseline and post-restoration monitoring for ecosystem restoration and enhancement projects. CEC scientists monitor invasive plants, perform agronomic evaluations to restore fertility and vegetation to highly disturbed sites, and design phytoremediation systems for treating contaminated soils.
A service provided by CEC that is of a high value due to our wide-ranging knowledge of State and Local requirements, as well as extensive experience with public presentations and providing expert testimony. CEC conducts traffic engineering studies that form the basis for sound and informed decision-making by performing such activities as evaluating an isolated intersection or a congested corridor, determining the impacts of newly proposed development, or analyzing deficiencies in the existing transportation system.
Used to conduct topographic surveys, optical gas imaging, vegetation analysis, and various types of inspections, as well as to capture aerial photography.
CEC’s services related to the management, recycling, reuse, and disposal of municipal, industrial, construction/demolition, hazardous, and gas exploration wastes, as well as coal combustion residuals. The private and public sectors rely on CEC for processing, treatment, or disposal facility projects. We develop designs for waste disposal facilities; prepare plans to extend the life of existing facilities; assist with permitting and regulatory compliance; provide construction support and construction quality assurance (CQA); perform Landfill Gas Operations & Maintenance (O&M) services; and design leachate and landfill gas management systems.
An area of expertise that CEC shares with clients at all phases of the water cycle. Our experience with regulatory authorities enables us to help you negotiate more appropriate permit conditions; we’ll keep you compliant with regulations while allowing development to continue. We help clients by developing stormwater compliance strategies, designing and implementing watershed restoration plans, managing municipal stormwater and sanitary collection systems, and determining appropriate wastewater treatment technologies.
The upper portion of an orebody that has been oxidized.