Heavy mineral sands are a class of ore deposit which is an important source of zirconium, titanium, thorium, tungsten, rare earth elements, the industrial minerals diamond, sapphire, garnet, and occasionally precious metals or gemstones. Sand is a naturally occurring Granular material composed of finely divided rock and Mineral particles An ore is a volume of rock containing components or Minerals in a mode of occurrence that renders it valuable for mining Zirconium (zɚˈkoʊniəm /ˌzɝˈkoʊniəm/ is a Chemical element with the symbol Zr and Atomic number 40 Titanium (taɪˈteɪniəm is a Chemical element with the symbol Ti and Atomic number 22 Thorium (ˈθɔːriəm is a Chemical element with the symbol Th and Atomic number 90 Tungsten (ˈtʌŋstən also known as wolfram (/ˈwʊlfrəm/ is a Chemical element that has the symbol W and Atomic number 74 Rare earth elements and rare earth metals are according to IUPAC, the collection of seventeen Chemical elements in the Periodic table, namely In Mineralogy, diamond is the allotrope of carbon where the carbon atoms are arranged in Sapphire (antique greek hyacinthos refers to gem varieties of the mineral Corundum, an Aluminium oxide (Al2O3 when it is a color other than The garnet group includes a group of minerals that have been used since the Bronze Age as gemstones and abrasives A gemstone or gem, also called a precious or semi-precious stone, is a piece of attractive Mineral, which &mdash when cut and polished &mdash
Heavy mineral sands are placer deposits formed most usually in beach environments by concentration due to the specific gravity of the mineral grains. In Geology, a placer deposit or placer is an accumulation of valuable minerals formed by deposition of dense mineral phases in a trap site Specific gravity is defined as the ratio of the Density of a given solid or liquid substance to the density of water at a specific temperature and pressure typically It is equally likely that some concentrations of heavy minerals (aside from the usual gold placers) exist within streambeds, but most are of a low grade and are relatively small. Gold (ˈɡoʊld is a Chemical element with the symbol Au (from its Latin name aurum) and Atomic number 79 A stream bed is the channel bottom of a Stream or River or creek the physical confine of the normal water flow
|Estimated ilmenite production|
in thousands of tons for 2006
according to U. S. Geological Survey
The grade of a typical heavy mineral sand ore deposit is usually low. For a topic outline on this subject see List of basic Australia topics. The Republic of South Africa (also known by other official names) is a country located at the southern tip of the continent of Africa Country to "Dominion of Canada" or "Canadian Federation" or anything else please read the Talk Page China ( Wade-Giles ( Mandarin) Chung¹kuo² is a cultural region, an ancient Civilization, and depending on perspective a National Norway ( Norwegian: Norge ( Bokmål) or Noreg ( Nynorsk) officially the Kingdom of Norway, is a Constitutional The United States of America —commonly referred to as the Ukraine (Україна Ukrayina, /ukrɑˈjinɑ/ is a country in Eastern Europe. India, officially the Republic of India (भारत गणराज्य inc-Latn Bhārat Gaṇarājya; see also other Indian languages) is a country |utc_offset = -2 to -4 |time_zone_DST = BRST |utc_offset_DST = -2 to -5 |cctld Vietnam (ˌviːɛtˈnɑːm Việt Nam) officially Mozambique, officially the Republic of Mozambique (Moçambique or República de Moçambique, ʁɛ'publikɐ d musɐ̃'bik is a country in southeastern Africa Madagascar, or Republic of Madagascar (older name Malagasy Republic) is an Island nation in the Indian Ocean off the southeastern Senegal (le Sénégal officially the Republic of Senegal, is a country south of the Sénégal River in western Africa. Within the 21st century, the lowest cut-off grades of heavy minerals, as a total heavy mineral (THM) concentrate from the bulk sand, in most ore deposits of this type is around 1% heavy minerals, although several are higher grade.
Of this total heavy mineral concentrate (THM), the components are typically
Generally, as zircon is the most valuable component and a critical ore component, high-zircon sands are the most valuable. Thereafter, rutile, leucoxene and then ilmenite in terms of value given to the ore. As a generality, typically the valuable components of the THM concentrate rarely exceed 30%.
Being ancient stranded dune systems, the tonnage of most deposits in excess of several tens of millions of tonnes to several hundred million tonnes. For example, the medium-sized Coburn mineral sands deposit, Western Australia, is 230 million tonnes at 1. Western Australia is a state occupying the entire western third of the Australian continent. 1% heavy minerals, and is 13km long.
The source of heavy mineral sands is in a hardrock source within the erosional areas of a river which carries its load of sediment into the ocean, where the sediments are caught up in littoral drift or longshore drift. Erosion is the carrying away or displacement of solids ( Sediment, Soil, rock and other particles usually by the agents of currents such as wind Sediment is any particulate matter that can be transported by fluid flow and which eventually is deposited as a layer of solid particles on the bed or bottom of a body of Longshore drift (sometimes known as shore drift, LSD or littoral drift) is a geological process by which Sediments such as sand Longshore drift (sometimes known as shore drift, LSD or littoral drift) is a geological process by which Sediments such as sand Rocks are occasionally eroded directly by wave action shed detritus, which is caught up in longshore drift and washed up onto beaches where the lighter minerals are winnowed. In Biology, detritus is non-living particulate organic material (as opposed to dissolved organic material
The source rocks which provide the heavy mineral sands determine the composition of the economic minerals. The source of zircon, monazite, rutile, sometimes tungsten, and some ilmenite is usually granite. Zircon is a Mineral belonging to the group of nesosilicates. Its chemical name is Zirconium silicate and its corresponding chemical formula is In Geology, the Mineral monazite is a reddish-brown Phosphate -containing rare earth metals and an important source of Thorium Rutile is a Mineral composed primarily of Titanium dioxide, Ti[[oxygen O]]2 Tungsten (ˈtʌŋstən also known as wolfram (/ˈwʊlfrəm/ is a Chemical element that has the symbol W and Atomic number 74 Ilmenite is a weakly magnetic titanium-iron oxide Mineral which is iron-black or steel-gray Granite (ˈɡrænɪt is a common and widely occurring type of intrusive, Felsic, igneous rock. The source of ilmenite, garnet, sapphire and diamond is ultramafic and mafic rocks, such as kimberlite or basalt. Ultramafic (also referred to as ultrabasic) rocks are igneous and meta -igneous rocks with very low Silica content (less than 45% generally Mafic is an adjective describing a Silicate mineral or rock that is rich in magnesium and iron the term was derived by contracting "magnesium" and "ferric" Kimberlite is a type of potassic Volcanic rock best known for sometimes containing Diamonds It is named after the town of Kimberley in South Africa Basalt (bəˈsɔːlt ˈbeisɔːlt ˈbæsɔːlt is a common Extrusive Volcanic rock. Garnet is also sourced commonly from metamorphic rocks, such as amphibolite schists. Metamorphic rock is the result of the transformation of an existing rock type the protolith, in a process called Metamorphism, which means "change Amphibolite (æmˈfɪbəlaɪt is the name given to a rock consisting mainly of hornblende Amphibole, the use of the term being restricted however to Metamorphic The schists form a group of medium-grade Metamorphic rocks chiefly notable for the preponderance of lamellar Minerals such as Micas chlorite Precious metals are sourced from ore deposits hosted within metamorphic rocks. Metamorphic rock is the result of the transformation of an existing rock type the protolith, in a process called Metamorphism, which means "change
The accumulation of a heavy mineral deposit requires a source of sediment containing heavy minerals onto a beach system in a volume which exceeds the rate of removal from the trap site. For this reason not all beaches which are supplied by sands containing heavy minerals will form economic concentrations of the minerals.
The heavy minerals within the source sediments attain an economic concentration by accumulation within low-energy environments within streams and most usually on beaches. In beach placer deposits the lowest energy zone on the beach is the swash zone, where turbulent surf washes up on the beach face and loses energy. In this zone, heavier grains accumulate because they are denser than the quartz grains they occur with and become stranded. Quartz (from German) is the most abundant Mineral in the Earth 's Continental crust (although Feldspar is more common in It is for this reason that beach placer deposits are often referred to as "strand-line deposits".
The size and position of a heavy mineral deposit is a function of the wave energy reaching the beach, the mean grainsize of the beach sediments, and the current height of the ocean.
Anecdotal reports of certain beach placers which are forming in modern times suggest that the greatest enrichment of the sands tends to occur in storm events which are energetic enough to remove most of the beaches sediment load—a process favoring the lighter minerals. The resultant 'clinker' sands which were left behind were mined during low tide following major storm events, suggesting that most beach placer deposits are formed during such cycles.
In most cases, fossilised dune systems are exploited for heavy mineral sands because they are from the ocean and because they are often remnants of previous intraglacial highstands. FOSSIL is a standard protocol for allowing serial communication for Telecommunications programs under the DOS Operating system. In physical Geography, a dune is a Hill of Sand built by Aeolian processes.
Tectonic activity, which results in coastlines rising from the ocean, may also cause a beach system to become stranded above the high water mark and lock in he heavy mineral sands. This article discusses the geologic usage for the philosophical or architectural usage see Architectonics ' Or see Plate tectonics. The coast is defined as the part of the land adjoining or near the Ocean. Similarly, a beach system which is drowned by the subsidence of a coastline may be preserved, often for millions of years, until it is either covered by sedimentaion or rises from the ocean.
Specific trap sites for heavy mineral sand placer deposits are in beaches on the leeward side of headlands, as this forms a low-energy zone which traps sediments carried along by the longshore drift. Windward is the direction from which the wind is blowing at the time in question Headlands and bays are two related features of the coastal environment Also, sand bars developed at the mouths of rivers which feed the placer deposits are rich trap sites where the winnowing action of the waves are most efficient, because heavy minerals, if they are going to be too heavy to be moved, will deposit at an isthmus in preference to drifting too far down the beach. A shoal or sandbar (also called sandbank) is a somewhat Linear Landform within or extending into a body of Water, A delta is a Landform where the mouth of a River flows into an Ocean, Sea, Estuary, Lake or another river An isthmus is a narrow strip of land connecting two larger land areas
The coast of Namibia is host to economic diamondiferrous beach sands, which are exploited by building sea walls and isolating stretches of coastline. Namibia, officially the Republic of Namibia, is a country in Southern Africa on the Atlantic coast A seawall is a form of hard and strong Coastal defence constructed on the inland part of a Coast to reduce the effects of strong Waves. The beaches are so isolated that they are sometimes processed in their entirety, down to the bedrock, in search of diamonds. Bedrock is the native consolidated rock underlying the surface of a terrestrial planet usually the Earth. Such deposits have been sought around the world, with sporadic reports of high-value stones but no instances of economic quantities of sediment.
The mining of beach sands and of fossilized beach placers is often controversial because the operation requires the strip mining of large acres of land. Surface mining is a type of Mining in which soil and rock overlying the mineral deposit are removed The acre is a unit of Area in a number of different systems including the imperial and U Often this land is in ecologically sensitive surroundings and contains fragile ecosystems built up on poor sandy soils. An ecosystem is a natural unit consisting of all plants animals and micro-organisms( Biotic factors in an area functioning together with all of the non-living physical (
The mining process is ideally modelled on the extraction operations underway in Australia, where the strip mining is followed by rehabilitation of the mined areas including intensive re-vegetation with ecologically similar species, re-contouring of the land to its original shape, including dunes, and management of groundwater resources. For a topic outline on this subject see List of basic Australia topics. Groundwater is Water located beneath the Ground surface in Soil pore spaces and in the Fractures of lithologic formations Modern mining practises tend to favor dry mining rather than dredging operations, due to the advent of electrostatic mineral separation processes. Dredging is an Excavation activity or operation usually carried out at least partly underwater in shallow seas or Fresh water areas with the purpose of
In practice, not all mining of sub-Saharan African deposits is carried out in such an environmentally responsible manner, although some South African mines do practise dune rehabillitation . Sub-Saharan Africa is a geographical term used to describe the area of the African continent which lies south of the Sahara, or those African countries The Republic of South Africa (also known by other official names) is a country located at the southern tip of the continent of Africa The mining of the coast of South America, in particular Chile and Ecuador, is carried out in an environmentally responsible manner. South America is a Continent of the Americas, situated entirely in the Western Hemisphere and mostly in the Southern Hemisphere, with a Chile, officially the Republic of Chile ( Spanish:) is a country in South America occupying a long and narrow Coastal strip wedged between the For a topic outline on this subject see List of basic Ecuador topics.
Examples of environmentally sensitive and poltically sensitive mineral sands mining operations which have gained public attention and galvanised environmental activism responses to mining proposals include the Tuart-Ludlow mineral sands mine, Western Australia, and the culmination of conservationist efforts to preserve Rainbow Beach and Fraser Island, Queensland, Australia. Rainbow Beach is a coastal town in south-eastern Queensland, Australia, near Gympie. Fraser Island, Batjala K'Gari, is an island located along the southern coast of Queensland, Australia, approximately 300 km north of Brisbane These latter campaigns successfully lobbied government and saw Fraser Island and Rainbow Beach protected by the High Court of Australia, however the Tuart-Ludlow campaign failed to protect the Tuart forests in coastal Western Australia.
It should also be noted that mineral sand mining operations were carried out successfully for 35 years in and adjacent to National Parks at Hawks Nest, New South Wales, and continue to be carried out on Stradbroke Island, Queensland.