What Is Oil Shale Mining? | iMINCO

What Is Oil Shale Mining?

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What Is Oil Shale?

Oil Shale MiningThis oily type of rock was formed millions of years ago when silt and organic material was deposited on ocean and lake beds.

Over a long period of being under heat and pressure the shale was formed in a similar process to that which results in conventional oil, but to produce conventional oil, the heat and pressure must be greater.

The oil shale normally contains enough petroleum-type oil that it will burn without any processing. This is how it became known as “the rock that burns”.

The term oil shale is generally regarded as applying to any sedimentary rock which contains kerogen (solid, bituminous materials). Kerogens are released as a form of liquid petroleum when the oil shale is crushed and heated in a retort.

How Is Oil Shale Mined?

Oil shale can be mined above and underground, crushed and then transported to a retort where it is heated to a high temperature, and the oil collected in a distiller. This results in an oil similar to that pumped up from conventional underground wells, but the process is more complex and therefore, more expensive at the present time.

Another process, only in the experimental stage at present, is “in situ retorting” which involves heating the oil shale while it is still underground and then pumping the resulting liquid to the surface for further distillation.

Why Is Oil Shale Mining Important?

This extra processing cost and the cheaper availability of alternative fuels, has resulted in the oil shale industry not developing as quickly as it might have, and not finding better technologies to reduce costs and environmental concerns.

With crude oil prices rising recently, the oil shale industry looks likely to kick-on again, with governments and industry pursuing new technologies and development to realise an alternative to conventional oil.

The U.S. and China have large reserves of oil shale. In one area of America alone, there is enough oil to meet a quarter of that countries` present oil demand for the next 400 years!

In Australia, exploration is continuing, and at present Queensland has 90% of the nation`s oil shale reserves. The Queensland Government has just removed the moratorium on oil shale mining, opening the way for more development and improved technology which will result in many jobs in the future.iminco logo

What Is Oil Shale Mining?


  1. peter February 17, 2013 Reply

    hi what is your course availability and do you do other liscence than dump trucks eg dozer excavater

    • Author
      John February 18, 2013

      Hi Peter and thanks for your questions about the machinery courses and availability.

      There are a few mine machinery courses you can do, here is a link to the mine machinery courses. The haul truck course is very popular and can be booked out from week to week. You’re best option to secure a spot is to call Industry Pathways on 07 5520 2522, as they are the RTO providing the haul truck training course. The team there will be able to help you pick a date for the course and they can even arrange accommodation for you if you are like a lot of students who travel from interstate.

      There is also a special haul truck training course being run over a couple of days, for students who want to work with a trainer one-on-one. This is a great way to get plenty of driving experience and learn from someone who has a lot of mining experience. Learn about the 2 day intensive haul truck course on the iMINCO website.

      iMINCO Mining Information
      r.e. What dump truck training and machinery courses are available?

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