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Mining operations are intricate endeavors often spanning decades. The process of locating, extracting, and processing valuable minerals entails numerous stages. Having a versatile fabric building on-site at each phase is invaluable throughout the life of a mining project. Tension fabric structures are ideal as temporary buildings for multiple purposes at all mining stages, from exploration and discovery to extraction, processing, and site remediation and restoration.

Here are some points we will cover:

Exploration and Discovery of the Mining Site

Tension fabric building with ventilation framing in mining area

During the exploration stage, mining companies conduct geochemical and geophysical surveys to identify potential mineral deposits, which involve fieldwork by geologists, including geological assessments, fault line analysis, and drilling.

Temporary buildings such as offices and laboratories are crucial for efficient operations during the exploration stage. Allsite temporary fabric structures (TFS) offer versatile solutions that can be quickly erected and modified to accommodate evolving needs, providing essential infrastructure for geological assessments and other exploration activities. The fabric cover of Allsite TFS shields personnel and equipment from the elements, making it an ideal choice for temporary structures in remote or extreme environments.

The discovery phase assesses the project’s financial viability and environmental impact, resulting in a decision on project continuation and a comprehensive impact plan. The TFS in place during the discovery phase provides a comfortable work and laboratory space for continuing site evaluation and planning activities. Once a decision is made, the project is ready to enter the mine development stage.

Development of the Mining Site

End view of a tension fabric structure with an opening, mining and remediation phase.Development of the mine may be a lengthy process. Infrastructure for the eventual operations must be put in place. This phase may last years, depending on the complexity and size of the site. Development may involve building needed infrastructure, such as roads, utilities, water and so on to prepare the site for access and use by personnel and for mining operations. The plan may also involve setting up processing facilities to extract the mineral from rock or soil, and loading areas to prepare it for transport. Development may also include an Environmental Management System to handle treatment of water and materials used in the mining and extraction process, as well as a greenhouse gas management plan to minimize emissions.

Mine development activities involve a lot of work at the mine site. The versatile Allsite TFS can be expanded in size or relocated as needed to accommodate different activities. These spacious and open span, high clearance heavy duty fabric buildings can accommodate machinery, equipment and vehicles, for activities such as loading and unloading mined materials, conveyor belt extraction processes and preparing minerals for transport. They can also serve as maintenance facilities for vehicles and equipment, storage areas for supplies and for use by personnel, such as for meals, rest and administrative use.

Key Considerations During Each Mining Phase

Allsite TFS, with its versatility and durability, accommodates various activities such as machinery storage, maintenance, and personnel areas.

Tensioned fabric structures (TFS) can allow for natural light to flood the interior space of the building. The polyester fabric used in the roof and walls comes with the option to be translucent or opaque, or with panels of actual skylights. This feature enhances the working environment, reducing the need for artificial lighting and providing a more pleasant atmosphere for on-site personnel.

The plan may also involve setting up processing facilities to extract the mineral from rock or soil, and loading areas to prepare it for transport. Development may also include an Environmental Management System to handle treatment of water and materials used in the mining and extraction process, as well as a greenhouse gas management plan to minimize emissions.

The TFS is built to last. It will easily endure the harsh conditions that are often found at mining sites. Its high-strength, extruded aluminum frame is rust and corrosion resistant. Its highly engineered design, tensioned with heavy duty industrial strength, UV resistant PVC fabric, provides extreme stability, easily weathering high winds, rain and snow. Its interior space is free of impediments so the spacious, clear span interior can be used to suit any purpose easily accommodating large equipment and vehicles.

The TFS comes with a choice of ventilation options. It accommodates your power and HVAC systems. In extreme climates, or to enclose contaminants or noxious odors, an insulation option is available.

In the case of remote sites where workers must be brought in, additional structures can be set up to serve as housing for employees at the site. These fabric-covered buildings offer durable and weather-resistant accommodations, ensuring the comfort and safety of personnel even in harsh environmental conditions.

Production Phase

Close view of fabric building exterior used in environmental restorationDuring the production phase, minerals are extracted and processed. TFS provides a secure indoor facility for processing activities, protecting materials from weather and facilitating operational changes.

The production phase involves the extraction of valuable minerals from the mine. Mining may take different forms, depending on the terrain and geology, and the economic feasibility of the site. It may involve underground mining, including digging tunnels or shafts to extract or. Or it may be a type of surface mining, such as strip mining, open pit, dredging or mountain-top removal.

Materials recovered in the mine will go through processing to extract the minerals. This may be done in a number of ways, such as crushing, leaching or smelting. Chemical processing may be used to extract the pure mineral product. It can then be packaged, loaded and transported from the mining site.

Many of these types of production activities can be carried out inside a TFS. The TFS can provide a secure enclosed on-site indoor processing facility, where the product is also safe from loss or damage due to weather or other circumstances. The TFS is both weather and fire resistant, and can be fully enclosed with a choice of openings and doors to secure the interior and to facilitate the movement of materials and supplies. As the volume and type of activities change during the life of the project, the structure can be easily modified in length at any time by installing additional fabric panels of 5 meters (16 feet) in length. With its durable and tough construction, TFS is very low maintenance and will last for decades, so crews can focus on mining operations.

Remediation, Reclamation and Restoration

Heavy equipment and hoses seen within the large opening of a tension fabric structureAs the mine nears its end, remediation and reclamation efforts begin. Allsite TFS aids in isolating workspaces and protecting materials during remediation, ensuring environmental integrity and worker safety.

As the mine reaches its end of life and its economic viability has diminished, the final phase of the mine begins. Once extraction is complete, the mining site must be restored to relative health and safety for local people and to assure environmental integrity. This phase includes closing the mine, which may include sealing it off to avoid any safety hazards. It also entails removing hazardous materials and waste generated during the mining process. Remediation includes removing contaminants from soil and water. Reclamation of the land generally follows, with the planting of native vegetation to protect the soil from erosion and restore natural habitat. Regular monitoring of the site may continue for years or decades, depending on the situation.

Fabric Buildings for Sustainable Mining Practices

The Allsite TFS is an invaluable tool for assisting in the remediation and reclamation process. Built for extreme conditions and durability, the TFS is used as an enclosure over remediation sites to isolate the workspace from the external environment. It also protects the products of dredging or excavation from the weather until they can be removed from the site, ensuring they will not be subject to runoff into the greater environment. The high clearance interior allows for large equipment operation inside the structure. Choice of open end or enclosed, the structure can be installed on any surface, including water or wet ground, or rocky, frozen or uneven terrain. If needed, the structure will accommodate air treatment equipment so that toxins can be enclosed and siphoned off for the safety of workers and the local environment.

Allsite TFS is a flexible and reliable solution for mining and site remediation needs. As well as almost any field application where a rugged, safe and reliable temporary building is needed.

For more information on Allsite tension fabric structures for mining operations in North America, call 1-888-599-5112.

Author Peter Milligan

Peter Milligan is a Business Development Manager at Allsite, with degree in Psychology from Lafayette College and 14 years experience in matching customers with Tension Fabric Structure solutions. Read more about Peter and the rest of our team at https://allsitestructures.com/about/

More posts by Peter Milligan

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