Name: Xincai Cai
Location: CUH Douglas Research classroom
Time: July 24, 10:30AM
Committee: Kern Ewing, Darlene Zabowski and Jim Fridley
Title: Surface Coal Mining Reclamation Practices
Coal is a very valuable energy source around the world. Most electrical energy comes from coal burning. Since the 1880s, coal production accelerated dramatically. Surface coal mining and underground coal mining are the most common methods to extract coal. In the United States and Australia, surface coal mining is more prevalent than underground coal mining. In China, underground coal mining is more prevalent than surface coal mining. Surface mining is used for extraction when the coal seams are very close to the earth’s surface. All the vegetation, soil and rocks are removed and the coal is extracted from the ground.
The demand for coal has taken priority over environmental concerns. In the past, coal mining operators and governments had little consideration for reclamation after coal mining and coal operators did not have a long –term commitment to the land or incentive to reclaim the land. As a result of that, the environment was heavily impacted by surface coal mining. High-walls were left exposed; topsoil was washed away; landslides formed on unstable hillsides; streams and rivers were polluted by acid mine drainage and large areas were eroded. The huge negative environmental impacts from surface coal mining led to increasing concerns about better coal industry management and policy. Each country has specific regulations about coal mining industry and reclamation practices.