Wildhorse explains some technical mining terms in order to help strengthen the understanding of its plans
Wildhorse Energy is committed to providing accurate and authentic information about the plans to restart uranium mining in the Mecsek Hills to the residents of the region. It believes it is important to clarify some repeatedly occurring mining terms to avoid unjustified concerns.
An Inclination shaftis a mining area or tunnel driven from the surface to the underground mining area of the mine. The slope of the floor primarily depends on the climbing ability of the equipment used in the tunnel, which is normally less than 10° in case of automatised machinery. The inclination shaft connects the surface and the underground ore deposit, ensuring access, transportation and – importantly - ventilation. These functions and the production capacity required by the mine define how large the inclination shaft needs to be. Wildhorse will consider applying a double inclination shaft solution for the Mecsek Hills mine planning. If double inclination shafts are used, those will be placed close to each other and for safety reasons will be interconnected.
An Airshaftis a several metre diameter size, round, mine void or shaft with a vertical axis that is either drilled or blasted from the surface – or from below - until the required depth is reached. Its main function is providing ventilation for the mine, therefore it can operate two different ways, either as an uptake shaft (when used air is released to the atmosphere), or an intake shaft (which provides fresh air for the miners). Another of its important tasks is the occasional transportation of materials and machines between the surface and under the ground. The surface facilities of an airshaft can be placed on a relatively small area. The depth of the airshaft at the Mecsek Hills Project could reach about 850 metres. Wildhorse is not planning to build airshafts in residential areas but instead the ventilation of the mine can be solved by placing them on other areas – for example along the inclinations shafts of the mine.
The ore lenses – similarly to other valuable mineral materials in general – are situated in complicated formations at unknown depths. The geologists prepare the exploration first and plan those exploration boreholes, which aim to trace the prospective ore deposit. In the meantime the results of the exploration may raise new questions, which can only be answered by drilling further boreholes. This is the situation in the case of the uranium exploration boreholes planned in the Pécs region. Samples are taken from the boreholes and different tests and surveys are run on them, but generally there is no need to keep the boreholes anymore, therefore they are backfilled with a cement-like material in line with strict regulations. Some boreholes can be transferred into water monitoring wells. The ground surface is reinstated to its original condition; trees or grass are planted as required and the area is handed back to its owner for agricultural, forest or other type of utilisation, as it was beforehand.
Mine openingcan only take place after a lengthy planning and permitting process, in possession of a quite accurately estimated mineral resource with the aim of production. The successful completion of the exploration is the precondition of mine opening.
The important differences between an exploration borehole and a mine opening are the following: firstly, a borehole is of a small diameter (approximately a size of a tennis ball), while the mine’s tunnels are used by machines and people to transport out the ore; secondly, drilling a borehole lasts maximum a few months, while a mine can even operate for decades,
Wildhorse continuously welcomes all kinds of questions and aims to disperse any concerns with the help of its informative campaign. Furthermore, the Company intends to facilitate the work, in cooperation with and under the supervision of the government, which aims to assess the utilisation of the mineral resource by reviewing all of its aspects.
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