One of the ways of Extracting Coal from the ground is called strip mining. This technique comes under surface mining and is used when the coal is found very near the top of the land. To get to the coal one has to remove the top layer of rock and soil. The exact steps that are carried out in strip mining are detailed below.
1. A bulldozer is used to remove all plants, trees, and vegetation found on the surface.
2. This flora, which is considered as waste, is carried to a location nearby and dumped. The waste also includes the sand, dirt, debris, and filth found just under the trees.
3. Now small holes are drilled in the rock-bed just above the coal. To reach the mineral bed, also known as a vein, a number of holes are made. These holes are used to throw explosives inside. The bombs are used to break the rock found just above the vein.
4. This broken rock bed is excavated and thrown into the dumping area. This step exposes the coal. Most often the use of explosives, called blazing, causes the formation of mineral chunks. The size of the pieces is vital because smaller chunks have a lower value. Coal particles that require big machinery to move are considered as most valuable.
5. The actual mining occurs at this step. It is done in a narrow strip in an elongated form. First, the primary strip is mined for coal. After it is extracted thoroughly, the second strip is created by removing filth, rock, and waste from the top. This debris is dumped on top of the first and used strip. The process repeated till the last strip is reached. At this point, the waster from the first strip is brought from the dumping ground and filled back in.
The process of strip mining can have an adverse effect on the land. The top layer that is dumped in a nearby location can flood surrounding towns, villages and agricultural land during the rainy season. Rain can also push the filth of the mine on the topsoil making it inhabitable for plants and animals. The water in the region becomes impure due to the pollution. The harmful impact of strip mining can easily be tackled by using reclamation strategies.
After a strip mine is closed, the mining company should fix the region. After the final strip is filled back in, the entire area should be bulldozed to create level land. If the firm fails to do so, it leaves behind an area that is full of uneven strips of soil, rock, and waste. The next step after evening out is to cover it with topsoil so that trees and plants can be planted on it.
If left unchecked the environmental effects of strip mining or any other method of coal extraction can be massively negative. Once mined and not reclaimed, a land becomes virtually useless. It can be used to grow anything or to build homes and complexes. Therefore, it is the duty of the mining firm to implement strategies that solve such problems.