Im trying to do an assessment but I just can answer this question!

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    $\begingroup$ I'm glad you want to participate,but you need to show that you put some work in yourself. $\endgroup$ – Spencer Feb 1 '18 at 1:17

The locating and extraction of mineral resources is essentially a three step process - find, extract and process.

The first step of finding the mineral resources requires the use of geophysics, geochemistry, sometimes geobiology and geology.

Geophysics uses techniques such as magnetic studies, geological resistivity and seismic analysis to find geological anomalies. Which techniques are used depends on the minerals sought (metal sulphides or oxides), the overall host geology of the region, the remoteness of a region and proximity to infrastructure.

Geochemistry generally involves taking multiple surface samples for chemical analysis over an area of interest to ascertain if there are any geochemical anomalies. One that comes to mind is following gold samples up a river to locate the hard rock source of the gold.

Geobiology is the use of plants to locate, or discover, a mineral deposit. One example that comes to mind was the discovery of the Viscaria copper deposit in Sweden due to a particular flower that grew over the deposit and not anywhere else in the region. The deposit was named after the flower that lead to its discover - Viscaria alpina (Lychnis alpina, "copper flower"). Geobiology is not widely used.

Geologists follow up any interesting anomalies discovered by these techniques with field mapping and drilling and the analysis of drill hole sampling.

The extraction of minerals from the ground is the domain of mining engineers. They take the models produced by geologists and determine where the mine should be located - because mineral deposits are not uniform and vary widely. They also determine which parts of the mineral deposit should be mined and how it is to be mined - open pit, underground, small or large scale stoping. They also determine the equipment to be used and with help from geotechnical/geomechanical engineers they determine the maximum size of openings that the ground can support during mining operations.

Once mineral bearing rocks (ore) have been mined, the minerals must be removed and concentrated. This is done by metallurgists in a processing plant. Depending on the minerals being processed, this can involved froth flotation (copper, zinc, lead, nickel), gravity techniques such as shaking tables (tin) or spirals, carbon in pulp processing (gold), magnetic separation (mineral sands), heavy media separation (iron ore). Most mineral processing methods require the use of water. Further refining is done by another group of metallurgists during smelting, if smelting is required.


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