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Investigating & developing a quarry
Before quarry operations begin, extensive investigation, modeling and definition of the available reserves are undertaken.
Geological investigations are based on maps and field studies. Representative samples are taken from the site for chemical and physical testing, and to determine their suitability for calcination. Other, indirect geophysical methods provide additional information, such as the depth of the deposit.
Geologists interpret the collected data and define units with similar chemical, physical and even burning characteristics to create a model of the deposit.
Two-dimensional and three-dimensional modeling of the quarry allow the quantities of available reserves for each unit to be determined. Available reserves are influenced by the properties of the surrounding terrain: topography and accessibility of the deposit, hydrological aspects and extraction licenses.
Based on the preliminary work, a long-term development plan is drawn up through the end of the deposit’s life. This plan takes into account:
- the markets that will use the final lime or mineral products;
- the related products' specifications;
- the characteristics of different types of kilns or processing systems that are used to transform limestone or clay into lime or mineral products.
For long-term operations, other aspects must also be considered. These include :
- access roads to various areas,
- width and height of mine faces,
- amount of water that needs to be pumped out of a mine,
- quantity of overburden that needs to be removed.
Site rehabilitation, once active quarrying has finished, is also planned in advance.