Coal Mining - Methods of Extraction - Modern Surface Mining - Mountaintop Removal Mining

Mountaintop Removal Mining

Mountaintop coal mining is a surface mining practice involving removal of mountaintops to expose coal seams, and disposing of associated mining overburden in adjacent "valley fills." Valley fills occur in steep terrain where there are limited disposal alternatives.

Mountaintop removal combines area and contour strip mining methods. In areas with rolling or steep terrain with a coal seam occurring near the top of a ridge or hill, the entire top is removed in a series of parallel cuts. Overburden is deposited in nearby valleys and hollows. This method usually leaves ridge and hill tops as flattened plateaus. The process is highly controversial for the drastic changes in topography, the practice of creating head-of-hollow-fills, or filling in valleys with mining debris, and for covering streams and disrupting ecosystems.

Spoil is placed at the head of a narrow, steep-sided valley or hollow. In preparation for filling this area, vegetation and soil are removed and a rock drain constructed down the middle of the area to be filled, where a natural drainage course previously existed. When the fill is completed, this underdrain will form a continuous water runoff system from the upper end of the valley to the lower end of the fill. Typical head-of-hollow fills are graded and terraced to create permanently stable slopes.

Read more about this topic:  Coal Mining, Methods of Extraction, Modern Surface Mining

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Mountaintop Removal Mining - Books and Films
... writers traveled together to see the devastation from mountaintop removal mining, and Wind Publishing produced the resulting collection of poems, essays and photographs, co-edited by Kristin Johannesen ... Mountaintop removal is a major plot element of the 2010 best-selling novel Freedom by Jonathan Franzen, wherein a major character helps to secure land for surface mining with the promise ... Burns, a coalfield native, has written an academic book on mountaintop removal, titled Bringing Down The Mountains, which is loosely based on the 2005 Ph.D ...

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