Illustrated Mining Terms


Face – The exposed area of a ore body from which orel is being extracted.     

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Face conveyor - Any conveyor used parallel to a working face which delivers coal into another conveyor or into a car.  
Factor of safety - The ratio of the ultimate breaking strength of the material to the force exerted against it. If a rope will break under a load of 6000 lbs., and it is carrying a load of 2000 lbs., its factor of safety is 6000 divided by 2000 which equals 3.  
Fall - A mass of roof rock or coal which has fallen in any part of a mine.

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Fan, auxiliary - A small, portable fan used to supplement the ventilation of an individual working place.

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Fan, booster - A large fan installed in the main air current, and thus in tandem with the main fan.  
Fan signal - Automation device designed to give alarm if the main fan slows down or stops.  
Fault - A slip-surface between two portions of the earth's surface that have moved relative to each other. A fault is a failure surface and is evidence of severe earth stresses.

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Fault zone - A fault, instead of being a single clean fracture, may be a zone hundreds or thousands of feet wide. The fault zone consists of numerous interlacing small faults or a confused zone of gouge, breccia, or mylonite.


Feeder - A machine that feeds coal onto a conveyor belt evenly.  
Fence - a bulkhead or dam constructed in a stope to contain tailings.  
Fill - Any material that is put back in place of the extracted ore to provide ground support.

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Firing - the detonation of a charge of dynamite or other explosive.  
Fissure - An extensive crack, break, or fracture in the rocks


Flat-lying - Said of deposits and coal seams with a dip up to 5 degrees.

Float - the loose and scattered pieces of ore which have broken from an outcrop.  
Float dust - Fine coal-dust particles carried in suspension by air currents and eventually deposited in return entries. Dust consisting of particles of coal that can pass through a No. 200 sieve.  
Flotation - A milling process by which some mineral particles are induced to become attached to bubbles and float, and others to sink.  
Floor - That part of any underground working upon which a person walks or upon which haulage equipment travels; simply the bottom or underlying surface of an underground excavation.  
Flue Gas Desulfurization – Any of several forms of chemical/physical processes that remove sulfur compounds formed during coal combustion. The devices, commonly called "scrubbers," combine the sulfur in gaseous emissions with another chemical medium to form inert "sludge" which must then be removed for disposal.


Fluidized Bed Combustion – A process with a high degree of ability to remove sulfur from coal during combustion. Crushed coal and limestone are suspended in the bottom of a boiler by an upward stream of hot air. The coal is burned in this bubbling, liquid-like (or "fluidized") mixture. Rather than released as emissions, sulfur from combustion gases combines with the limestone to form a solid compound recovered with the ash.

Fluvial - deposit in, or pertaining to, rivers;  
Fly ash – The finely divided particles of ash suspended in gases resulting from the combustion of fuel. Electrostatic precipitators are used to remove fly ash from the gases prior to the release from a power plant's smokestack.  
Formation – Any assemblage of rocks which have some character in common, whether of origin, age, or composition. Often, the word is loosely used to indicate anything that has been formed or brought into its present shape.


Fossil fuel – Any naturally occurring fuel of an organic nature, such as coal, crude oil and natural gas.


Footwall - The wall or rock on the underside of a vein or ore structure.  
Fracture - A general term to include any kind of discontinuity in a body of rock if produced by mechanical failure, whether by shear stress or tensile stress. Fractures include faults, shears, joints, and planes of fracture cleavage.


Friable - Easy to break, or crumbling naturally. Descriptive of certain rocks and minerals.


Fuse - A cord-like substance used in the ignition of explosives. Black powder is entrained in the cord and, when lit, burns along the cord at a set rate. A fuse can be safely used to ignite a cap, which is the primer for an explosive.


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