When was strip mining first used?
Early small-scale surface mining occurred in Alberta near Wabamun Lake after 1913 and at Sheerness during the 1930s. The Sheerness mine company used early strip mining techniques to remove the overburden of dirt and rock that rested above coal seams near the Earth’s surface.
Does strip mining still exist?
Mountaintop removal coal mining, often described as “strip mining on steroids,” is an extremely destructive form of mining that is devastating Appalachia. In the past few decades, over 2,000 miles of streams and headwaters that provide drinking water for millions of Americans have been permanently buried and destroyed.
Why is strip mining so bad?
Strip mining eliminates existing vegetation and alters the soil profile, or the natural soil layers. Mining disturbs and may even destroy the beneficial micro-organisms in the topsoil. Soil also may be damaged if reclamation operations mix the topsoil with subsoils, diluting matter in the surface soil.
What is strip surface mining?
Strip mining, removal of soil and rock (overburden) above a layer or seam (particularly coal), followed by the removal of the exposed mineral. Such spoil areas are now routinely reclaimed and permanent vegetation reestablished as an integral part of surface-mining operations.
Is surface or subsurface mining worse?
Subsurface mining is actually less disruptive to the earth and produces less waste than surface mining, but it’s also much less effective and more dangerous. Many workers die in mine collapses, which then also leaves behind a large hole from caving in of the ground above.
How deep is a strip mine?
Terraced excavations usually 10–30 m deep with deposit dipped at 8°; some internal storage of overburden (Fig. 2.1C). 1.2. Strip-mining disturbance.
What are the steps to strip mining?
Strip mining is the process of removing a thin strip of overburden (earth or soil) above a desired deposit, dumping the removed overburden behind the deposit, extracting the desired deposit, creating a second, parallel strip in the same manner, and depositing the waste materials from that second (new) strip onto the …
Is strip mining safer?
On a production basis, comparing fatalities per million tons, strip mines are over four times safer than underground mines; and on an exposure basis, comparing fatalities per million man hours, strip mines are approximately twice as safe.
How does strip mining affect humans?
Living in heavily mined areas increases the risk of lung cancer and respiratory disease. Levels of exposure to pollution are highest in areas with the most mountaintop removal. Scientists found a direct link between dust from mountaintop removal and lung cancer.
Why is subsurface mining more expensive?
Underground mining is more expensive because it’s more capital intensive. Proper ventilation system is also needed to supply necessary oxygen to miners working underground, and to dilute, render harmless, and carry away the hazardous components of mine air (including methane that is potentially explosive).