Mining and Fracking

Harmony & Ava

What is Mining?

Mining is the process or industry of obtaining coal or other minerals from a mine.

Types of Mining:

Surface Mining: is the process in which soil and rock overlying a mineral deposit are removed. This includes strip mining, open pit mining, and mountain top removal mining, among others.


Subsurface Mining: is the process of digging tunnels or shafts into the earth's crust to reach buried ore deposits. This includes slope, drift, and shaft mining.

What is Strip Mining?

Strip Mining is the removal of soil and rock above a layer of coal followed by the removal of the exposed mineral.


Effects on the Environment:

  • surface vegetation is scalped
  • top soil is destroyed
  • excess overburden is deposited in a landfill

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What is Open Pit Mining?

Open pit mining is a technique of extracting rock or minerals form the earth through a pit or burrow.


Effects on the Environment:

  • minerals extracted are only available in small concentrations
  • exposes rock that has been unexposed for geological eras
  • when crushed radioactive elements are exposed
  • toxic and radioactive elements can leak into the bedrock if not properly contained

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What is Mountain Top Removal Mining?

Mountain top removal mining (MTR) involves the mining of the summit or summit ridge of a mountain to extract coal seams.


Effects on the Environment:

  • buries and poisons headwater streams
  • destroys forests and removes top soil so forests can't regrow
  • destroys animal and plant habitats
  • endangers bird species
  • noticeable decline in fish population in areas near MTR

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What is Slope Mining?

Slope Mining is mining for valuable geological material through a sloping access shaft traveling downward through the earth.


Effects on the Environment:


  • pollution
  • contamination of surface and ground water
  • releasing of toxic chemicals
  • loss of biodiversity

What is Drift Mining?

Drift mining is the mining of an ore deposit by underground methods.


Effects on the Environment:

  • pollutes air and water
  • air pollution shortens the lives of about 1 million people annually world wide
  • collapse of mines
  • gas explosions
  • more than 100 thousand miners killed in the last century

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What is Shaft Mining?

Shaft Mining is a 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:

  • toxic waste from earth and rock is brought to the surface
  • when mines collapse land starts to sink and damages buildings
  • changes the flow of groundwater and streams
  • much water is wasted
  • produces greenhouse gas

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What is Fracking?

Fracking is the process of drilling down into the earth's crust and releasing a high pressure water mixture directed at rock to release the gas inside. Water, sand, and chemicals are then injected into the rock at high pressure which allows the gas to flow out of the well.


Effects on the Environment:


  • contamination of groundwater
  • methane pollution
  • air pollution
  • high exposure to toxic chemicals
  • potential gas explosions
  • waste disposal
  • lots of water used in water-deficient regions
  • earthquakes
  • unsafe workplace
  • oil spills