Chapter 23
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CHAPTER 23. MINERALS & MINING. MINERALS & MINING. A RESOURCE MINING METHODS ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACTS SUSTAINABILITY. BACK TO GEOLOGY, ROCK CYCLE, LITHOSPHERE. ROCK: “A solid aggregation of minerals.”

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CHAPTER 23

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Chapter 23

CHAPTER 23

MINERALS & MINING


Minerals mining

MINERALS & MINING

  • A RESOURCE

  • MINING METHODS

  • ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACTS

  • SUSTAINABILITY


Back to geology rock cycle lithosphere

BACK TO GEOLOGY, ROCK CYCLE, LITHOSPHERE

  • ROCK: “A solid aggregation of minerals.”

  • MINERAL: “Naturally occurring solid chemical element or (inorganic) compound having well-defined crystalline structure, specific composition, and distinct physical properties.”


Lithosphere upper mantle crust 60 miles

LITHOSPHERE: Upper Mantle + Crust (~ 60 miles)


Eg tantalite

Eg., Tantalite

  • Tantalum, Oxygen, Iron, Manganese

  • Tantalum: electronics

  • Occurs in pegmatite(igneous rock), along with: feldspar, quartz, mica and occasionally gemstones.


Metals are mined from ores

METALS ARE MINED FROM “ORES”

  • ORES: METALS IN MINERAL FORM

  • Copper

  • Iron

  • Lead

  • Gold

  • Aluminum


Iron no fe no steel

IRON: NO Fe, NO STEEL!


Aluminum no al no air travel no airlines no air defense

ALUMINUM: NO Al, NO AIR TRAVEL, NO AIRLINES, NO AIR DEFENSE.....


Minerals and metals are everywhere in our products

Minerals and Metals are everywhere in our products


Mining methods

MINING METHODS

  • STRIP MINING

  • SUBSURFACE MINING

  • OPEN PIT

  • MOUNTAINTOP REMOVAL


Strip mining

STRIP MINING

  • EFFICIENT FOR SHALLOW MINERALS

  • REMOVE UPPER LAYERS

  • COMMON FOR COAL

  • ENVIRONMENTALLY DISASTOROUS

    • Severe community disturbance!

    • Erosion!

    • Acid drainage: exposed sulfides + O2 + rainwater = H2SO4

    • Acid promotes heavy metal leaching


Subsurface mining

SUBSURFACE MINING

  • TRADITIONAL

  • Zn, Pb, Ni, Sn, Au, Cu, U

  • Diamonds

  • MINERALS DEEP UNDERGROUND

  • DANGEROUS!


August 2010 chile

AUGUST, 2010: CHILE


Matewan wv unionizing

MATEWAN, WV: UNIONIZING


Open pit

OPEN PIT

  • MINERALS SPREAD EVENLY

  • SOILS UNSUITABLE FOR TUNNELING

  • DIG GIGANTIC HOLE


One open pit mine

One open pit mine

One Utah mine is 2.5 mi across and 0.75 mi deep; almost half a million tons of ore and rock are removed each day


Holes fill with groundwater acid

HOLES FILL WITH GROUNDWATER ----- ACID


Mountaintop removal

MOUNTAINTOP REMOVAL!!

  • COAL

  • APPALACHIAN MTNS

  • KENTUCKY, WEST VIRGINIA, PENNSYLVANIA


A mining method mountaintop removal

A mining method: mountaintop removal

  • Entire mountaintops are blasted off

    • The waste is dumped into valleys

  • For coal in the Appalachian Mountains of the eastern U.S.

  • Economically efficient

    • “Valley filling” = dumping rock and debris into valleys

  • Degrades and destroys vast areas

  • Pollutes streams, deforests areas, erosion, mudslides, flash floods

An area the size of Delaware has already been removed


Where does all that rock and soil go

WHERE DOES ALL THAT ROCK AND SOIL GO?

  • VALLEY FILLING

  • 2,000 MILES OF STREAMS BURIED


Mining other environmental impacts

MINING: OTHER ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACTS!

  • MINE “TAILINGS”

    • Leftover ore after metals extraction

    • Subject to “leaching” of residual heavy metals, extraction chemicals (cyanide/Hg to extract gold, sulfuric acid for copper)

    • Runoff to streams

    • Tailings Ponds: leaching to groundwater

    • WESTERN U.S.!

  • SMELTING: Air toxics pollution

  • WATER, ENERGY!


Smelting

SMELTING

  • HEATING ORES BEYOND THEIR M.P. AND COMBINING WITH OTHER METALS/CHEMICALS

  • LEAD SMELTING!


Restoration of mining sites

RESTORATION OF MINING SITES

  • “RECLAMATION”

  • ONLY PARTIALLY EFFECTIVE


Laws regulations

LAWS, REGULATIONS

  • THE GENERAL MINING ACT OF 1872

  • ALLOWS ANY U.S. CITIZEN OR COMPANY TO STAKE A CLAIM ON ANY PLOT OF PUBLIC LAND OPEN TO MINING.

  • NO PAYMENTS TO PUBLIC REQUIRED.


Sustainable mining

‘SUSTAINABLE MINING’

  • AN OXYMORON ??

  • Oxymoron: a figure of speech by which a locution produces an incongruous, seemingly self-contradictory effect, as in “cruel kindness”

  • “CLEAN COAL”??


Minerals are non renewable resources

MINERALS ARE NON-RENEWABLE RESOURCES

  • SUSTAINABILITY HINGES ON RATE OF EXTRACTION

  • DISCOVERY OF NEW RESERVES

    • ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACTS?!

  • NEW EXTRACTION TECHNOLOGIES

    • ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACTS?!

  • RECYCLING


  • Years remaining for selected minerals

    Years remaining for selected minerals

    • Scarcity increases prices

      • Industries will spend more to reach further deposits


    Recycling

    RECYCLING


    Discarded cell phones

    DISCARDED CELL PHONES!

    • PAGE 661

    • > $300 MILLION

    • MAJOR SOURCE OF TOXIC METALS FROM LANDFILLS


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