Modern technology and innovative thinking have combined to provide a creative new way to mine underground. By utilizing lasers for spalling (breaking) rock underground, lasers will eventually eliminate conventional methods of drilling and blasting. Preliminary test work indicates substantial savings can be realized in time, material costs, and operating costs.
This new mining method involves the use of high optical power output fiber lasers to cut or spall ore bearing material from the host rock. Because the spalled material is in the form of “pea” sized chips, these chips can easily be moved from the working face to the surface. A milling advantage is that these small chips do not require crushing and can be discharged directly to the ball mill or leach pad.
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