Drift mines are a form of
underground mining. This kind of
mining is done when the rock or mineral is on the side of a
mountain. This makes it an easy, cheaper way to mine.
Whenever possible, the opening to the mine will be dug
a little lower than the rock or mineral
vein. This makes it
easier to get the materials out because gravity helps move them
tunnels that are dug are horizontal [as in the
diagram] and are called drifts.
Drift mining was really dangerous in the early days.
Many tunnels caved in—trapping and killing miners.
Ore was often mined this way. Ore is rock with
minerals inside of it. Early miners threw away the
copper, and other minerals that they found with the
they were looking for. Miners found it annoying when they had
to separate those things from the gold they were looking for.
Later on, these minerals became valuable, too.
Rocks and minerals
mined with drift mining: