Open pit mines are used in coal mining as well as “hard rock” mining for metal ores, gold, copper, iron, aluminum, and a number of different minerals. A pit mine excavation is used in exposing ore in order to extract it. Ideally, large quantities of waste rock are moved at the lowest possible cost. The physical design of a mine is largely related to the ore and waste extraction required. Complex engineering decisions are made, making most mine pit designs an exercise in geology, economics, environmental protection and mining engineering.

 

An Artistic Effect

That said, some mine pit designs are just downright cool! Mine pit design is based upon a series of ledges or “benches.” Waste and minerals from the excavation are removed in successive layers, each creating a new bench and resulting in a visual “stair-step” effect down into the earth. During development and mining, several benches may be in operation simultaneously in different areas and at different elevations of the mine at any given time.

If you’ve ever been to a large gorge or canyon such as the Grand Canyon in Arizona, Waimea Canyon on the Hawaiian island of Kauai, or Bryce Canyon in Utah, you know the beauty and grandeur of this type of formation. The shape and sweep of these concave wonders in the earth have a serene yet undeniably breathtaking effect.

 

Man-Made Canyons

Mine pit designs have a similar visual effect, but there is something more otherworldly about them. While canyons are formed and carved very gradually by the elements over millions and millions of years, mines bear the more recent imprint of human innovation and modern machinery. This open pit copper in Arizona illustrates the effect — your eye is drawn in and around the benches and levels of it in an almost hypnotic fashion:

unique mine pit designs

[photo via]

The Huffington Post has recently profiled photographer David Maisel, who is known for his eerie yet extraordinarily beautiful photography images of pit mines:

unique mine pit designs huff post 1

 

unique mine pit designs huff post 2

 

View all images here. 

The photos are shot from an aerial perspective, and the result is an overall aesthetic that tricks the eye, making you wonder if you’re even looking at photography. The geometric and symmetrical shapes, sharp contrasts and rich hues make the images appear more like abstract paintings. Looking at these images, there’s a disorienting ambiguity that is at once strange and compelling.

 

When the earth is impacted, it seems we cannot help but be touched by it; Maisel’s photography, naturally-formed canyons and large mine pit designs all conjure a sublime effect.

Related GK News

Christmas Header

Merry Christmas from General Kinematics

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year from all of us at GK. Thank you to all of our customers for another wonderful year. Wishing you success and joy in 2019!    

Read More
general-kinematics-vibra-drum

The Difference Between Rotary and Vibratory Drum Technology (Which is best for your process?)

When it comes to choosing the optimal drum technology for your foundry, there are two basic options available: vibratory drums and rotary drums. Both technologies offer advantages in certain applications, so what factors should you consider in determining the best solution for your process?     Vibratory Drums   Vibratory drums come in two varieties: […]

Read More
material testing

General Kinematics’ Process Guarantee

  General Kinematics’ Vibratory Process Equipment is engineered for specific material and process objectives. A review of the process objectives with the end user enables GK Engineers to identify the most appropriate Vibratory Technology for the process. Product feed temperatures, moisture content, drying and cooling rates, temperature sensitivity, as well as particle size and shape […]

Read More