Growing energy demand coupled with increasing urbanization and industrialization is expected to boost the demand for hydraulic mining in the future. Hydraulic mining also referred to as hydraulicking was developed in California at around 1850 for excavating soft underground deposits. In Hydraulic mining a high pressure jet of water is used to excavate and wash the gravel. Gold is then recovered by cleaning the bedrock. Hydraulic mining is efficiently used to mine placer deposits of gold. Hydraulic mining is applicable in nearly all types of placer deposits, having various physical characteristics such as clayey or cemented deposits. However, water supply is a key parameter in determining the application of hydraulic mining and size of operation.
In hydraulic mining, a high pressure stream of water is directed against an alluvial bank caving. This stream then undercuts the bank, forming slurry with water; the slurry is further washed into a sluice. This process is gravity driven and separates gold from gravel. The overall market for hydraulic mining can be segmented on the basis of mining methods, equipments and geography to portray the overall market scenario. On the basis of mining methods, the global hydraulic mining market can be segmented as bottom up mining and top-down herring bone mining. On the basis of hydraulic equipment, the hydraulic mining market can be segmented as stackers, shovels, level luffing cranes, electronic overhead travel (EOT) cranes and drilling machines.
Top-down herring bone hydraulic mining method allows safe access around monitors, safe cutting angles and other equipment operating on safe examined areas. On the other hand bottom-up hydraulic mining methods can be used during mining of beach sands or coarse tailing. An application of hydraulic mining includes underground hydraulic mining for mining of coal. In the above process, the high-pressure water jets are used to break up the coal seam and wash the remaining coal slurry to the collection point.
The global hydraulic mining market is rising and is estimated to register low to moderate growth rates in the future. The market’s growth is primarily driven by the increased application of hydraulic mining in the mining of gold. However, the market players are required to follow a proposed hydraulic operation and fulfill three necessary conditions. These conditions are to ensure adequate water supply, facilitate sufficient dump space to dispose of the tailing from the sluice and to lay sluice with proper grade to carry gravel and water efficiently. Growing wealth in numerous emerging markets worldwide coupled with increasing industrial applications of hydraulic mining are expected to be the key growth drivers of this market. Hydraulic mining is a low-cost method and yields larger production per man-shift compared to any other method except dredging. Hydraulic mining methods are more economical for small and medium size deposits. Moreover, requirement of low initial investment is also likely to propel growth in the global hydraulic mining market. Compared to other competitive methods such as dredging, hydraulic mining is a fairly productive method of mining gold. It requires low capital and mining costs as well as limited labor. The aforementioned benefits are likely to further accelerate the growth in global hydraulic mining.
Some of the key players in the global hydraulic mining market include Caterpillar, Penny Hydraulics Limited, and Trident Mining & Marine Services Pty. Ltd.
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