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Strip Mining

  • By: Aron Massey
  • In: Encyclopedia of Geography
  • Edited by: Barney Warf
  • Subject:General Geography, Earth & Environmental Science

Minerals located at or beneath the Earth's surface have long been used for building materials, energy sources, and a wide variety of products to further human development. There are numerous methods for mining these materials. Strip mining is one such method, which has proven to be efficient, economical, and, at the same time, controversial.

Strip mining is part of a broader category of mining techniques known as surface mining. These techniques, such as open-pit mining, quarrying, or high wall mining, involve moving massive amounts of earth from above the desired material. The rock, soil, and other material that cover the minerals are known as overburden. Each type of surface mining has methods in place to remove the overburden and, in some instances, to reclaim the site ...

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