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Subsurface Mining and its Environmental Impacts
Transcript of Subsurface Mining and its Environmental Impacts
- Acid drainage from the equipment
- Toxic water end up in groundwater.
- Abandoned mining sites can continue polluting groundwater after the mining has ceased.
-Water must be pumped out of the mine during the mining process. After the mine is abandoned, the pumping stops, and the water floods the mine.
-The toxic water that flows out can find its way to streams and rivers, this changes the pH levels and harms the wildlife found there.
Subsurface mining consists of digging tunnels or shafts into the earth to reach buried mineral deposits. This form of mining is most commonly used for zinc, lead, nickel, tin, gold, copper, diamonds, phosphate, salt, coal, and uranium.
What is it?
Advantages : Safer than surface mining, faster than 60% of other mining in the U.S, less disruptive to the environment, leads to more minerals.
Disadvantages : Costs more, harder to do than surface mining, takes a lot of time.
Advantages and Disadvantages
Types of Subsurface Mining
- A form of coal mining where a long wall of coal is mined into a single slice, typically about 0.6-1.0 meters thick.
- The coal is cut from the coalface by a machine called the shearer or power loader.
- Used to mine the underground water-soluble minerals, by dissolving the minerals with water or a weak brine.
- This starts with the drilling of one or several wells down to the target mineral. Solvents are injected to dissolved the mineral and create a brine that is pumped to the surface to recover the mineral. Using this brine they recrystallize the mineral.
- Used to extract stone for building materials.
- Mechanical tools to mine these quarries include drilling, blasting and hauling equipment.
- Industrial drills with diamond tips are used to cut into these hard pieces of rock.
- Miners may even use explosives to blast away unwanted material to access the desired rock.
- Details about how the topsoil will be affected and how it will be replaced must be stated before mining begins.
- All affected water must be processed and cleaned before leaving the mining site.
- Procedures for public notice, public participation and application review for underground permit applications must be put in place.
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