History Of Oil Shale Mining | iMINCO

History Of Oil Shale Mining

Oil shale mining has beenhappening since prehistoric times

History of oil shale miningWhy? Because it’s a “rock” that burns without any processing.Oil shalewas also used as a decoration, as it can be easily cut and polished.

The Romans and Greeks used it to decorate mosaics and floors in palaces, churches and mosques, and as road construction material.

As long ago as the 10th Century, an Arabian physician described a method of extracting oil from “some kind of bituminous shale”.

From the 14th to 17th centuries, shale oil was also used in Europe for medical treatments and street lighting.

The British Crown granted a patent in 1694 to three persons who had “found a way to extract and make great quantities of pitch, tarr, and oyle out of a sort of stone.” In 1781, Archibald Cochrane, 9th Earl of Dundonald, registered a patent for an extraction process to produce tar, pitch and oil from coal and bituminous shales, using masonry retorts and wooden condensers.

The extraction method of heating the crushed oil shale (retorts) and distilling it via a condenser was refined over a long period.

The modern use of oil shale for oil extraction as an industry began in France, where commercial mining began in 1837.

During the second half of the 19th century shale oil extraction industries were initiated also in Sweden, Australia, Brazil, New Zealand, Canada and the United States.

In Australia, the first mine started in New South Wales at American Creek and the first shale oil was produced there by the Pioneer Kerosene Works.

The industry expanded worldwide in the early part of the 20th Century due to limited access to conventional sources of petroleum and the mass production of cars and trucks with the corresponding increase in gasoline consumption. In the 50s and 60s, apart from Russia and China, most countries abandoned oil shale projects because of high processing costs and cheaper petroleum from other more conventional sources.

Due to the 1973 oil crisis, the huge American industry restarted and nearly all the major oil companies had oil shale pilot projects happening, only tocollapse againin the early 1980s when oil prices fell.

Oil shale production began to grow again globally in the mid-1990s, with China and the United States producing millions of barrels annually.

In Australia, a demonstration plant was built near Gladstone in Queensland in 2000, but was closed due to environmental concerns, and was rebuilt andbegan using a new process in 2011 and has received no complaints to date. The Queenslandmoratorium on oil shale mining has now been lifted and this plant and many other new projects, will no doubt expand operations, ensuring future jobs for Queenslanders in this state which hold 90% of Australia`s oil shale reserves.iminco logo

History of oil shale mining


  1. warren ward July 29, 2014 Reply

    To whom it may concern,
    Hi my name is Warren and I have worked in the mining industry for eight years now and would enjoy the change and work in a new mine. I have an extensive resume showing my skills and the work I have done while working in a mine.
    I look forward to hearing from you and hope I get a position as I wont let you down.
    Yours sincerely,
    Warren Ward

    • John July 31, 2014

      Hello Warren, thanks for your comment.
      Being currently employed in the mining industry is a good thing. Your knowledge of the industry will really help you make a good impression at an interview. iMINCO is not a mining company, nor do we employ people to work in the industry. What we do is provide mining news to thousands and thousands of people who visit our website every week. This news helps people just like you, get the information needed to discover just where the jobs could be; and how to go about the process of being a good employee.

      I would look at exactly what types of jobs you want to do in the future. I’m not certain what type of job you have done in the last 8 years so I find it hard to make some recommendations.

      What I will say is this; make sure your resume is up-to-date and makes your best achievements stand out. I know you’ll agree with me when I tell you that there is a lot of competition for mining jobs at this time. Many people apply for a jobs and many don’t even get an interview. Most of the time it’s because their resume is rejected by a piece of computer software that scans the resume for ‘keywords’ related to the job being advertised. This is the most critical point here and possibly the biggest tip I can give you. When you apply for jobs, read the job ad carefully. I’ll say that again because it’s important. When you apply for jobs, read the job ad carefully. The secret in applying for any job is to meet the job ad requirements by addressing them in your resume and cover letter. iMINCO has a couple of free guides on how to create a winning resume and how to get your resume past scanning software. Get you copy and improve your mining job chances.

      Good luck in finding a new mine to work in

      r.e. I want to work in a new mine, how do I go about it?
      iMINCO Mining Information

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