Stages of a mine

There are four main stages in the life of a mine: exploration, development, extraction and processing, and mine closure.

Mineral Exploration: Work is carried out to determine the location of the mine, its size, shape and the value of its ore body.  Exploration work can include aerial and satellite-borne sensor systems, geologic mapping, induced polarization (IP), drilling and other methods.

Evaluation & Planning: Evaluating and planning a mine takes place in several stages. A feasibility study must be carried out to determine whether or not to develop the property. An Environmental Impact Study needs to be filed for the site. Acquiring the rights to the mine and designing it.

Extraction: There are several methods for extracting the ore from the ground. They include: surface mining, underground mining and in situ mining. Once the ore is extracted, it is then processed on site and is ready for further development.

Mine Closure (Reclamation): The completion of a reclamation plan must be fulfilled for the closure of a mine. The Surface Mining and Control Act of 1977 states that reclamation must "restore the land affected to a condition capable of supporting the uses which it was capable of supporting prior to any mining, or higher or better uses." There are three core stages to closing a mine:  decommissioning, reclamation and post closure care and maintenance.