What is Open Pit Mining?

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What is Open Pit Mining? Blog Image


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