environmental impacts of mining

mining and the environment

Although mining provides people with many needed resources, the environmental costs can be high. Surface mining clears the landscape of trees and soil, and nearby streams and lakes are inundated with sediment. Pollutants from the mined rock, such as heavy metals, enter the sediment and water system. Acids flow from some mine sites, changing the composition of nearby waterways (Figure 1.1). U.S. law has changed in recent decades so that a mine region must be restored to its natural state, a process called reclamation. This is not true of older mines. Pits may be refilled or reshaped and vegetation planted. Pits may be allowed to fill with water and become lakes or may be turned into landfills. Underground mines may be sealed off or left open as homes for bats. Click image to the left or use the URL below. URL: Acid drainage from a surface coal mine in Missouri.


instructional diagrams

No diagram descriptions associated with this lesson


the damage done by surface mining includes

a) clearing the landscape of trees and soil.

b) erosion of sediments into streams and lakes.

c) pollutants and acids flow outward from mines.

-->  d) all of these.

this product of mining can change the composition of nearby streams and lakes

a) water

b) precious metals

-->  c) acids

d) all of the above

acid flowing from coal mines in missouri polluted the water and land.

-->  a) true

b) false

older mines must also be reclaimed by u.s. law.

a) true

-->  b) false

reclamation of a mine area may include

-->  a) filling pits with sediment, reshaping the land and planting vegetation.

b) putting a cap on the mine and leaving.

c) planting vegetation over the mine.

d) none of these. reclamation is not a goal of most mine owners.

personal electronics are full of metals and other substances that come from mining.

-->  a) true

b) false

how does mining affect streams and lakes?

a) they may become full of sediment.

b) they may become full of pollutants.

c) they may become full of acid.

-->  d) all of these.

heavy metals are among the pollutants that can come off a mine.

-->  a) true

b) false

according to u.s. law, a mine region

a) may be left as it is when the mining is complete.

-->  b) must be restored to its natural state.

c) may be capped and left alone.

d) none of these.

how can bats benefit from mining?

-->  a) underground mines that are left open may become homes for bats.

b) insects are attracted to the mine smells and bats come to eat them.

c) bats eat the birds that live in an abandoned mine shaft.

d) none of these.

diagram questions

No diagram questions associated with this lesson