plan is to open pit an area
more than 1 mile in
diameter. Assuming the
zeolite goes below the
valley floor, a 2 to 1 slope
will be utilized in sinking.
Reclamation will include
drifting topsoil back over
the mined area.
Although near-surface rock is easily ripped, it
is more economical to drill and blast it. A
Tamrock track drill is used to drill blast
holes. Holes are loaded with ammonium nitrate
and primed with powder and Easy-Det primers.
Benches are 10 to 20 foot high, and each bench
is accessed by a road. Quality control in the
pit is visual.
Blast Hole Drill
Depending on the location, the zeolite is
overlain by 1 to 12 feet of zeolite rich soil.
On the ridges, the cover is very thin, and in
the draws the soil is thicker. The overburden is
stripped using a tractor dozer, currently a
Caterpillar D 8 K. It is moved to the toe of the
pit, and will eventually be dozed back over the
pit for reclamation.
Tractor ripping ore
Loading is best
performed with a
Liehberr R 965
excavator with a
2 yard bucket to
allow sorting of
Loading with excavator
Alternatively, a Caterpillar 986B loader with a
6 cubic yard bucket is used. The benches are
cleaned with the D8K.
Loader with a 6 cubic yard bucket
Haulage is on
approximately 4000 foot of road on an uphill
grade of 2.5% to the mill. On higher benches,
the grade will eventually be downhill.
Caterpillar 769 B rock trucks are used. The
trucks haul 18 to 20 tons per load, and the
cycle time is about 30 minutes including
With both trucks and the other existing
equipment, the mine is capable of producing 120
tons per hour.
View looking in direction of plant and mine from
a recreational lake. Notice neither the plant
nor the mine is visible.