Types of Mining and Fracking

By Josh and Kyle

SURFACE MINING

Strip

Removal of soil and rock above a layer or seam, followed by the removal of the exposed mineral.


Effects- Removal of vegetation results in barren lunar like landscape and is generally unsuitable for and immediate land use.

OPEN PIT

A form of surface mining when useful minerals are found but the material of interest is structurally unsuitable for tunneling so essentially a big hole/pit is dug into the ground.


Effects- Besides environmental land destruction , hard rock mining exposes rock that has lain unexposed for geological eras. When crushed these rocks expose radioactive elements. If not properly contained the toxic liquids can leak into bedrock.

Mountain Top Removal

A form of surface mining where the physical mining is done at the summit or summit ridge of a mountain. Explosives are used to remove up to 400 vertical feet of mountain top.


Effects- Land is deforested prior to mining operations, and there is high potential for human health impacts.

Subsurface

Slope

A method where a sloping access shaft travels downwards at decline towards the desired material.


Effects- Possible landslides, and potential collapse of mine due to lack of structural support.

Drift

Similar to Slope mining except material is accessed through a near-horizontal passageway into a mine inside of hill or mountain.


Effects- Water pollution due to certain minerals and chemicals entering into the underground water system.

Shaft

The method of digging a vertical to near-vertical tunnel from the surface to the desired depth.


Effects- Poor air circulation in mines can result in respiratory problems for workers and and the burning of the minerals found can danger the surrounding community.

Fracking

What is it? Fracking is the process of drilling and injecting fluid into the ground at a high pressure to fracture shale rocks that release natural gas from the inside.


How is it done? Upwards of 400 tanker trucks are used to carry water and supplies to the site. It can take anywhere from 1-8 million gallons of water per a job. The water is then mixed with sand and about 40,000 gallons of chemicals which include uranium, methanol, and mercury. The fracking fluid is then pressured down to about 10,000 feet where the natural gas is tapped into. The problem is that only about 30-50% of the fracking fluid is retrieved. The chemicals are then able to contaminate the ground water which is used for communities.