Mining from A to Z

What exactly is a "belt conveyor" and what are the special features of a "U-shape conveyor"? And what is the definition of "Mining Industry"?

In our glossary, you will find a comprehensive list of explanations for a wide variety of mining industry terms. Simply click on the term you are interested in for general or industry information.

We have explained all the technical terms for you in a detailed and understandable way.


Amphibolite is a metamorphic rock. The main components are amphiboles (mostly hornblende) and plagioclase. Quartz, garnet, diopside, epidote and biotite may also be present. The chemical composition of the amphibolites is metabasic. They are obtained from basic magmatites such as gabbros, basalts, andesites and their tuffs or from marls and tuffites (para-amphibolites)


Bituminous coal

Anthracite is a bituminous coal with a volatile content of less than ten percent. This high-grade form of coal is extremely hard. Anthracite forms from vegetable matter under high pressure and in the absence of air. This increases the carbon content. This lies at over 91.5 percent by weight. Anthracite is particularly prized as a fuel due to its high energy content, the hot flame it produces and its combustion properties which mean that it leaves almost no residue.

Cavity filling

In mining, the term backfilling refers to the filling-in of the cavity between the excavated area and the rock mass using suitable materials. Various materials (such as gravel) and a number of different technologies are used for backfilling.


Ball mill
Grinding of ore

A ball mill is a mill for ultrafine grinding or homogenization. It consists of a rotating grinding jar (steel cylinder) into which the material to be ground (ore) is fed. Grinding balls made of various materials are added – in the case of ore, the balls are made of steel. Rotation of the ball mill pulverizes the ore.


Banded iron formation
Sedimentary rock

Banded iron formations are units of iron-bearing marine sedimentary rock that were primarily deposited in the Precambrian period. They possess a characteristic banded structure due to their metal-bearing layers. The layers primarily consist of ferrous minerals with a vertical cross-section reminiscent of bands. This is what gives them their name.


Igneous rock

Basalt is a basic igneous rock. It consists in particular of iron and magnesium silicates with pyroxenes and calcium-rich feldspar (plagioclase) and also usually also olivine. Basalt is the volcanic equivalent of gabbro (plutonite), which has the same chemical composition. Basalt is usually dark gray to black. Because the rock is formed through the action of volcanic processes, the groundmass is usually fine-grained due to the rapid cooling it undergoes.


Base metal
Base metal

Base metals are characterized by the fact that they oxidize – under normal conditions they react with oxygen in the air. For example, iron rusts. Zink and aluminum protect themselves through passivation, which is the formation of a corrosion-resistant oxide layer that prevents further oxidation. Base metals differ chemically from noble metals in that their redox pairs have a negative instead of a positive standard electrode potential (relative to the standard hydrogen electrode).


Aluminum ore

Bauxite is an aluminum ore that consists primarily of the aluminum materials gibbsite (hydrargillite) and diaspore as well as the iron oxides haematite and goethite, the clay material kaolinite and small amounts of the titanium oxide anatase. Bauxite takes its name from its place of discovery, Les Baux-de-Provence in the south of France. It was unearthed there for the first time in 1821.


Belt conveyor
A system for moving bulk material

Machine which transports bulk material on a conveyor belt. It mainly consists of a supporting structure made of steel sections, a drive station, a return station, idlers and a conveyor belt.


Block caving
Mining of ore

Block caving is an underground mining method in hard rock in which an ore body is undercut until it finally collapses under its own weight. This can cause the formation of large surface depressions called dolines or sinkholes. The method is an economical means of mining large ore deposits.


Bucket elevator
Vertical transport of powdery or small-sized bulk material

A continuous conveyor for vertically elevating powdery or small-sized bulk material. The buckets are attached to a double- or single-strand chain, a pintle chain or a belt. Vertical continuous conveyor with buckets used as support elements that scoop the material to be transported or are filled and emptied in certain areas. Belts or chains are used as traction elements.


Bulk handling
Efficient and safe handling of bulk material

Systems for moving, processing and packaging different kinds of bulk material. These can be belt conveyors, palletizers, packaging machines or loading equipment. The aim is to transport the material safely from the excavation point to the destination.


Bulk material
A granular or fragmented mixture in pourable form

Bulk materials are different kinds of lumpy, granular and powdered products like e.g. ores, coal, peat, sand, saw dust, cement. Accord. to VDI 2411 bulk materials are “loose, pourable materials to be conveyed”.


Bulk terminal
Transshipment port for bulk goods

The area of a port used for transshipment of bulk goods. The warehouse capacities, loading equipment and packaging facilities are designed for handling bulk goods.

Ore mineral

Chromite is a mineral belonging to the oxides. Chemically it is an iron chromium oxide. It typically occurs in granular to massive aggregates. The color is usually black, but rarely also dark brown. The surface has a greasy metallic luster.


Conveying and Loading
Conveying and loading of bulk materials along the entire process chain

Ores, salts, rocks, earth and other resources that have been mined must be transported over long distances. After extraction and crushing, the material must pass through stations like grinding, flotation, drying, homogenization, mixing, interim storage and loading. Conveyor systems have to ensure safe, efficient and environmentally friendly handling of these materials along the entire process chain.


Efficient and environmentally friendly handling system for bulk material along the entire process chain

Also called conveyor system, belt system or belt conveyor. Means of transporting granular or fragmented cohesive or non-cohesive material or piece goods. These systems transport all kinds of bulk material in a wide variety of industrial sectors.

Mining industry
Extraction of mineral resources

Extraction of useful mineral resources like ores, coal, copper, rocks or earth in compliance with special legislation (mining law). This is done in open-pit mining or underground mining with the help of special machinery and equipment.

Overland conveyor
A belt conveyor for overland transport of bulk material

(see belt conveyor). A conveyor for continuous overland (long-distance) transport of bulk material to a storage location such as a stockpile. From there the material can be taken up by railroad cars or trucks for further processing. Overland conveyors are used wherever large quantities of bulk material must be transported in an efficient and environmentally manner from A to B.

Ship Loader
Shipping and transport solutions for ports

Ship loaders are facilities for loading ships with bulk materials, bags or boxes. A conveyor belt brings in the material and a mobile boom moves it to the ship, where it drops in free fall through a chute into the cargo hold. Ship loaders must be designed with due provision for vessel sizes and available port space.


Ship Loading
(see Ship Loader)


Storage and Blending
Storing and mixing

Blending beds are systems at storage locations that ensure the consistent quality of individual raw materials like limestone, clay and marl. A heap, which is built up layer by layer using a stacker, is reduced at the front side by a bridge scraper and the material is continuously mixed and homogenized. This prevents fluctuations in material properties in later processing.

Tubular conveyor
Conveyor technology

Closed pipe conveyers reliably move products while protecting them from external influences and preventing the escape of dust. Bulk material can be transported downhill in closed belts. Different materials can be conveyed in the top strand and bottom strand.

Vertical transport
Conveyor technology

In vertical transport, belt bucket elevators reliably convey powdery to coarse-grained bulk materials like limestone, coal and ores to heights of 200 meters and more. The materials can be fed to the bucket elevator in a space-saving manner from below or directly via a chute. Specially designed buckets are available in different widths, depending on the application and the quantity to be conveyed. Belt bucket elevators are also suitable for conveying hot bulk materials.

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