Types of Mining

By Max Lotz and Ali Imran

What are the two different types of mining?

The two different types of mining are: surface and subsurface. Surface mining is excavations that take place on the surface of the earth and all follow a basic principal: dig through the top layer to get to the rich subterranean layers, by stripping away huge portions of land. Subsurface mining also burrows down to get to resources and so are less destructive to the surface, but still harmful in their own right...

Surface Mining

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Surface Mining: Open Pit/Strip Mining

Above is a picture of active open pit/strip mining. This is where huge layers of soil are displaced to get down deeper and deeper whilst harvesting the dug up materials for processing. This is obviously very harmful to the environment since once a strip mine is exhausted, there is a massive gaping pit that could take hundreds of thousands of years to naturally fill up again. Not to mention the millions of tons of displaced soil and rock...
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Surface Mining: Mountain Top Removal

Above is two pictures of the same location, only one is before a mountain top removal mining operation, and one is after. Mountain top removal mining can yield massive amounts of resources ranging beyond minerals from mining. Mountain top removal mining gives thousands of tons of lumber as well as the thousands of tons of things mined. While this method yields the most, it is also the most destructive... Not only does it displace thousands of tons of soil and rock (like pit/strip mining) but it also destroys entire forests before the mining can even begin. This decimates entire ecosystems, and literally moves mountains...

Subsurface Mining

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Subsurface Mining: Fracking

Above is a diagram of Fracking, or hydraulic fracturing, which is the act of water, sand, and many toxic chemicals (fracking fuel) being pumped, or rather, injected into the earth at very high pressures to crack shale rocks deep below earth's surface. This event triggers the release of natural gas, which then finds it way up the well, and is harvested, refined, and sold. This is quite an effective way of gathering natural gas, but comes with terrible environmental side effects, namely the fracking fuel. 50% to 70% of produced fracking fuel cannot be retrieved after usage and so is left in the ground. The remainder of the fuel that is retrieved is not used again, and is instead left out to evaporate. Both of these actions release harmful toxins and carcinogens into the environment that finds its way to humans one way or another. Weather it be by evaporated airborne particles, or contaminated groundwater run-off...