Mining and the environmental impacts
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Mining and the Environmental Impacts. Mining Methods. Surface Mining . Shallow deposits = Surface mining – vegetation, soil, and rock ( Overburden ) are removed and set aside as spoils Sometimes referred to as MOUNTAINTOP REMOVAL Need to restore the land after mining is done

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Surface mining1

  • Shallow deposits = Surface mining – vegetation, soil, and rock (Overburden) are removed and set aside as spoils

  • Sometimes referred to as MOUNTAINTOP REMOVAL

  • Need to restore the land after mining is done

    Mountaintopremoval

SURFACE MINING


Environmental efffects

  • Scarring and disruption of the land surface

  • Acid Mine Drainage – rainwater seeping through waste pile or mine carries sulfuric acid produced by bacteria in spoils and contaminates nearby groundwater

  • Filling in of valleys and streams

  • Major air and water pollution

  • Noise, ugliness, heat, land accidents, etc.

Environmental efffects


Subsurface mining

  • Deep deposits = Subsurface Mining

  • Less land disturbance than surface mining

  • Less waste material

  • More dangerous & expensive (black lung)

  • Subsidence – collapse of land

  • Breaching underground water – aquifer

Subsurface Mining


Reclamation

  • Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act of 1977 (SMCRA) = the primary federal law that regulates the environmental effects of coal mining in the United States.

  • Mine operators are required to minimize disturbances and adverse impact on fish, wildlife and related environmental values and achieve enhancement of such resources where practicable. Restoration of land and water resources is ranked as a priority in reclamation planning.

  • Sounds good? Difficult in arid regions (little precip, low soil fertility, soil doesn’t hold water,etc)

Reclamation


Steps to reclaim land

  • Recontour/regrade land to original condition

  • Replace topsoil

  • Replant with native vegetation

  • Monitor for 5-10 years, depending on location

Steps to Reclaim Land


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