Drift mining is commonly used when ore deposits are on a mountainside. Horizontal drifts are dug just below the mineral vein and are driven at an angle, so that gravity moves the materials downhill, making them easier to extract.
Key fact: Drift mining was commonly used during the early days of the Klondike Gold Rush (1896-1899)
There are two main types of drifts: footwall drifts, which run parallel to the ore deposit, and crosscuts, which run across the footwall and orebody.
These development openings can be used for haulage, ventilation, and exploration. There are five operations involved in excavating and extending drifts in underground mines: drilling, blasting, loading and hauling, scaling, and reinforcing.
Drift mining is a more economical and less invasive way of extracting precious minerals like gold, coal, quartz, and zinc. It also refers to the working of coal seams by driving horizontal or sub-horizontal passageways, known as adits, through the outcrop.
Less invasive than tunnelling
Easier to transport ore and equipment
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