What is Open Pit Mining?

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What is Open Pit Mining? Blog Image

Overview:

An open pit mine recently collapsed in China's northern Inner Mongolia region, killing at least two people and leaving more than 50 missing.

 About Open Pit Mining:

  • What is it? Open-pit mining, also known as opencast mining, is a surface mining technique that extracts minerals from an open pit in the ground.
  • It is the most common method used worldwide for mineral mining and does not require extractive methods or tunnels.
  • It is an appropriate extraction method when mineral or ore deposits are found relatively close to the earth's surface, which is overlain by relatively thin vegetation, topsoil, and rock (collectively called overburden).
  • It uses a series of level surfaces or benches to reach the deposit, forming an open pit that looks similar to an inverted pyramid.
  • Open-pit mines undergo constant expansion until all mineral resources are exhausted.
  • Most of the world's annual output of copper, gold, and iron ore is from open-pit mining operations.
  • Other commodities produced from open-pit mining include diamonds, molybdenum, manganese, lead and zinc, uranium, and a variety of industrial minerals, such as borates, talc , etc.
  • Open-pit mining has higher productivity, lower operating costs, and is relatively safer than other mining methods.
  • Environmental effects of open pit mining:
  1. It consumes enormous amounts of water;
  2. heavily pollute water and air;
  3. disfigures landscapes;
  4. permanently destroys habitat;
  5. the pit area retains elevated risks of erosion and flooding even after pits are exhausted.

 


Q1) What is Strip mining?

Strip mining is a mineral-extraction process in which a layer or seam of undesired material (called “overburden”) is removed from the surface of an area to allow efficient access to a desired material existing underneath the layer being stripped. It is a form of surface mining, and it is primarily used to extract material that lays relatively close to the surface.

Source: At least two dead, more than 50 missing after open pit mine collapses in China