Open Cast Mining

Open cast mining is a useful method of extracting ore near the surface. It allows teams to fast track box cut excavations on gold, platinum and uranium mines as it saves the need for the usual methodological approach. In this article we’ll look at what we mean by open cast mining, along with its uses in South Africa.

What is Open Cast Mining?

Open cast mining, also known as open-pit mining, is a way of extracting ore from an open-air pit. These pits vary in size, but on industrial sites they tend to very large. But this also depends on the type of material being mined.

Opencast mining is often used for coal mining, as the seams are close to the surface. But it’s also used for gold mining, uranium mining, and platinum mining. These open-pit mines are much deeper because of the materials’ starting depths.

Some examples of the biggest open cast mines in South Africa include:

• Palabora Mine.


• Venetia Diamond Mine.


• Mogalakwena.

Mogalakwena is a good example of open pits used for platinum mining, and has been excavated to a depth of 245 meters.

It is also useful for the rehabilitation of disturbed mining areas, as the area is easier to stabilize and reform. For example, waste dumps are leveled, covered with soil, and left to grow. Unlike tunneling, which can leave ground unstable, open cast mining pits can serve a number of uses.

Open Cast Mining in South Africa

Open cast mining is a popular method in South Africa as it allows miners to cover a large area with greater ease than something like long wall mining. Opencast chrome, manganese and iron ore mining is better for the following reasons:

• The veins of ore are close to the surface.


• The ratio of overburden to material is low.


• The mining takes place in ground unsuitable for tunneling.


More than anything, it helps mining to take place faster than tunneling methods. For example, the haul trucks and excavators can work at a greater pace than in a long wall mine. When it comes to high-value industries like gold mining, platinum mining and uranium mining, faster extraction means greater profits.

For open cast mining, prospecting box cuts are a useful way of testing an area’s potential. A box cut involves cutting through the overburden to expose a coal seam, for example. Box cuts also serve as an entrance into deeper parts of an open cast mine.

SCRIBANTE open cast mining

Here at SCRIBANTE, we’re experts in open cast mining in South Africa. We’ve worked with a number of high profile clients on everything from coal mining to uranium mining. Some of our clients include Anglo Coal, Glencore, and Silver Unicorn.

Open cast mining is a quick and effective way to extract materials from a large area. If you’re new to the South African mining industry and are looking for ways to make the most out of your mining prospects, contact us today to see how we can help

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