Types of Mining and Fracking

Carly O'Rourke

Surface Mining

Surface mining is a form of mining in which the soil and the rock covering the mineral deposits are removed.

  • Strip mining Strip mining is the practice of mining a layer of mineral by 1st removing a lengthy strip of overlying soil and rock and is most frequently used to mine coal.
  • Open-pit mining Open-pit is the technique of extracting rock or minerals from the earth by their deduction from an open pit or borrows. Although open-pit mining is sometimes erroneously referred to as "strip mining", the 2 methods are different.
  • Mountaintop removal is the mass restructuring of earth in order to get in touch with the coal seam which is as deep as 1,000 feet below the surface. It is utilized where a coal seam protrusions all the way around a mountain top. All the rock and soil higher than the coal seam are removed and the soil placed in flanking lows such as hollows or ravines. Mountaintop subtraction replaces previously steep landscape with a relatively plane surface.
Effects on the Environment

  • Surface Mining destroys landscapes, forests and wildlife habitats at the site of the mine when trees, plants, and topsoil are cleared from the mining area. This in turn leads to soil erosion and destruction of agricultural land.

Subsurface Mining

Subsurface mining consists of digging tunnels or shafts into the Earth to reach buried deposits, and are brought to the surface.

  • Slope Mining is a method of accessing valuable geological material, such as coal or ore. A sloping access shaft travels downwards towards desired material.
  • Drift Mining The mining of an ore deposit by underground methods, or the working of coal seams accessed by adits driven into the surface outcrop of the coal bed.
  • Shaft Mining method of excavating a vertical or near-vertical tunnel from the top down, where there is initially no access to the bottom.
Effects on the Environment

  • Underground mining causes huge amounts of waste earth and rock to be brought to the surface – waste that often becomes toxic when it comes into contact with air and water. It also causes subsidence as mines collapse and the land above it starts to sink. This causes serious damage to buildings.

What is Fracking?

  • Fracking is the process of extracting natural gas from shale rock layers deep within the Earth.
  • Fracking is done by creating horizontal "veins" off a vertical well, and then pumping that horizontal well full of water at an extremely high pressure.
  • During the process of fracking methane gas and toxic chemicals leach out from the ground and contaminate nearby groundwater, poisoning our water supply.