Strip mining is a form
surface mining. The ore is close to the surface of the land
but has one or more layers of rock and dirt on top of it. To
mine the ore, these layers have to be taken off.
The steps in strip mining are like
The steps are:
The trees and bushes are
pushed down by bulldozers.
This waste, along with
the dirt or sand under it, is taken to a nearby area and
Lots of small holes are
drilled through the rock that is above the coal or
Explosives are put in the
holes and blasted. This breaks up the rock
which is taken to the dumping area.
is found, it might be broken up by the blasting.
The sizes of the chunks is important because the
miners donít usually want it in tiny pieces.
They usually want it in pieces that are able to be
moved with large machinery.
This mining is done in
long, narrow strips. When the ore is done in
one strip, the miners begin to create another strip
next to it. The waste, dirt, and rock that
they take off of the top of the next strip is put on
top of the last one. This is repeated until
the last strip is done and the waste from the first
strip is brought back to fill it.
Strip mining, like other kinds of surface mining, ends up
hurting the area around the mine. The rock, gravel, trees,
vegetation, and dirt are dumped in areas around the mine. When
it rains, this runs over the land and into streams and rivers.
The rain pushes the mine dirt on top of the area topsoil and
buries it. The streams end up being blocked and rivers flood.
Water is contaminated by the flooding.
The mined land was
usually ruined, too. There were no trees or plants left.
The top soil was bulldozed under the rock. It became the cheap
and quick way to mine until the U.S. Government made mining
companies fix [reclaim] the land when the mining was done.
Visit our Mining and the Environment page.
To reclaim land, mining
companies have to fix the land and make it like it was before.
With strip mining, waste was pushed onto the last strip
mined. This ends up making a whole bunch of rows that need to
be leveled when mining is done. The mining company has
bulldozers flatten the raised strips until they are all even.
Topsoil is bulldozed over the top of everything and trees and
grasses are planted.
What is mined this way:
Different mineral ores