Types of Mining

Ellery Dayton, Amber Artis, Chasity Bell, Danielle Ortiz


Mining is the process or industry of obtaining coal or minerals from a mine. Depending on the type, the process can be very dangerous to the environment surrounding the mine, and can lead to other types of destruction.
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Surface Mining

The first type of mining is surface mining. Surface mining includes strip mining, open-pit mining, and mountaintop removal.

Strip Mining- Strip mining is the practice of removing minerals by first removing a long strip of overlying soil and rock (called the overburden). It is mostly used to mine coal, but can also be used to mine lignite (brown coal). Strip mining can only be used effectively when the ore is fairly close to the surface.

Open-pit Mining- Open-pit mining is a technique used to extract rock or minerals from the Earth by removing from an open pit called a borrow. Just like strip mining, this technique only works when the minerals are close to the surface.

Mountaintop Removal- Mountaintop Removal mining (MTR) is a mining technique that involves the mining of the summit or summit ridge of a mountain. Explosives are frequently used to extract coal from mountains such as the Appalachians.

Subsurface Mining

Subsurface mining consists of digging tunnels or shafts into the earth to extract buried ore deposits. Types of subsurface mining include slope mining, drift mining, and shaft mining.

Slope- Slope mining is the method of using a sloping access shaft to reach valuable materials underneath the ground. This is most commonly used for coal, but is also used to obtain ores that cannot be found on the surface.

Drift- Drift mining is the mining of underground deposits of mineral by drilling near-horizontal passageways that follow the vein of an ore. Drift mining is the most common type of subsurface mining.

Shaft- Shaft mining (also called shaft sinking) is the mining method of excavating a long vertical tunnel where access to the bottom is difficult. Some shaft mines are used for civil engineering.

Effects of Mining on the Environment

While mining is a very useful and necessary way of obtaining resources, the by product of it can be dangerous to our world. Effects of mining include erosion, formation of sinkholes, contaminated soil/water, and etc. Erosion caused by mine dumps and dams can transport sediments into water, contaminating them. This can cause health issues for humans and the organisms that live near/by the water. Sinkholes can cause damage to human homes and neighborhoods if the mine is close enough.

Fracking and It's effects on the Environment

Fracking (Hydraulic Fracturing) is the use of high pressurized fluid to fracture deep rocks and release valuable resources such as petroleum and an doer natural gases. The fluid (usually mixed with chemicals or sand) is injected into the rock to cause the fracture.

While fracking is useful to humans, it can cause water contamination, air emissions, and health effects on humans. Methane released from fracking can cause excess greenhouse gas and acid rain, which in turn causes water pollution and negative health effects on humans and other organisms.

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