strip mining

strip mining
mining in an open pit after removal of the overburden.

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Technique for the surface mining of coal by removing the soil and rock overburden above a seam and extracting the exposed mineral.

The method is used to best advantage where the coal seam is thin and not deeply buried. (Thicker and deeper seams would be extracted by open-pit or underground mining.) Strip mining is most economical where flat terrain and horizontal seams permit a large area to be stripped. Where deposits occur in rolling or mountainous terrain, a contour method is used that creates a shelf with a slope on one side and an almost vertical wall on the other. A variety of equipment is used, including dozers, scrapers, hydraulic shovels, draglines, and bucket-wheel excavators. Concern over the environmental effects of strip mining have resulted in numerous requirements for the reclamation of excavated land.

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      removal of soil and rock (overburden) above a layer or seam (particularly coal), followed by the removal of the exposed mineral.

      The common strip-mining techniques are classified as area mining or contour mining on the basis of the deposit geometry and type. The cycle of operations for both techniques consists of vegetation clearing, soil removal, drilling and blasting of overburden (if needed), stripping, removal of the coal or other mineral commodity, and reclamation.

      Area mining is appropriate for the extraction of near-surface, relatively flat-lying, and thin deposits of coal, phosphate, and similar minerals. Area mining usually progresses in a series of parallel deep trenches referred to as furrows or strips. The length of these strips may be hundreds of metres. Contour mining progresses in a narrow zone following the outcrop of a mineral seam in mountainous terrain.

      In the past, strip-mined mineral deposits that became exhausted or uneconomical to mine often were simply abandoned. The result was a barren sawtooth, lunarlike landscape of spoil piles hostile to natural vegetation and generally unsuitable for any immediate land use. Such spoil areas are now routinely reclaimed and permanent vegetation reestablished as an integral part of surface-mining operations. Generally, reclamation is performed concurrently with mining. See mining and coal mining.

William Andrew Hustrulid

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Universalium. 2010.

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Look at other dictionaries:

  • strip mining — strip ,mining noun uncount AMERICAN a way of mining coal, iron, etc. that involves digging along the surface of the earth …   Usage of the words and phrases in modern English

  • strip mining — n. a method of mining, esp. for coal, by laying bare a mineral deposit near the surface of the earth, instead of by sinking a shaft …   English World dictionary

  • strip mining — noun the mining of ore or coal from an open mine • Syn: ↑opencast mining • Hypernyms: ↑mining, ↑excavation * * * mining in an open pit after removal of the overburden. * * * strip mining, the work or business of operating a strip mine. * * *… …   Useful english dictionary

  • strip mining — also strip mining N UNCOUNT Strip mining is a method of mining that is used when a mineral is near the surface and underground passages are not needed. [AM] (in BRIT, use opencast mining) …   English dictionary

  • strip-mining — see strip mining …   English dictionary

  • Strip mining — (surface)   A method used on flatter rain to recover coal by mining long strips successively; the material excavated from the strip being mined is deposited in the strip previously mined.   U.S. Dept. of Energy, Energy Information Administration… …   Energy terms

  • strip mining — A method of mining coal by uncovering the vein instead of reaching it by shaft and laterals …   Ballentine's law dictionary

  • strip mining — noun (U) especially AmE a method of getting metal, coal etc by removing the earth from the surface of the ground, rather than by digging a passage under the ground compare opencast …   Longman dictionary of contemporary English

  • strip-mine — strip mine. /strip muyn /, v.t., v.i., strip mined, strip mining. to excavate by open cut methods. Also, strip. [1925 30] * * * …   Universalium

  • strip mine — n AmE a very large hole that is made in the ground to remove metal, coal etc from the earth British Equivalent: opencast >strip mine v [I and T] >strip mining n [U] …   Dictionary of contemporary English

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