Coal can be extracted from the earth either by surface mining or underground mining. Once coal has been extracted, it can be used directly (for heating and industrial processes) or to fuel power plants for electricity. If coal is less than 61 meters (200 feet) underground, it can be extracted through surface mining.
What happens after coal is mined?
After removing the coal from the ground, the miners may send it to a preparation plant near the mining site. The plant cleans and processes coal to remove rocks, dirt, ash, sulfur, and other unwanted materials. This process increases the heating value of the coal.
Is coal mining still dangerous?
Coal mining is still dangerous. In 2010, West Virginia had the worst coal mining disaster in the US in 40 years, when an explosion killed 29 people. … That year, 3,242 people died in coal mining accidents. Coal mines have continued to have fires and explosions, killing hundreds of miners over the years.
How does coal mining affect humans?
Coal mining leads U.S. industries in fatal injuries, and miners have suffered prolonged health issues, such as black lung disease, which causes permanent scarring of the lung tissues. Surface mining destroys forests and groundcover, leading to flooding and soil erosion.
What happens to coal mines when they are abandoned?
Across the US, two out of every three acres of reclaimed coal mines have been turned into some form of grassland, which regulators say is often disused. Only 18% was converted into farming, housing, industry or recreation, while 16% was left in a wilder state as forest or undeveloped land.
Do coal miners still get black lung?
After Congress passed the Federal Coal Mine Health and Safety Act in 1969, which made the elimination of black lung a national goal, coal workers’ pneumoconiosis dropped to historically low rates by the 1990s.
What are the disadvantages of coal?
The major disadvantage of coal is its negative impact on the environment. Coal-burning energy plants are a major source of air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions. In addition to carbon monoxide and heavy metals like mercury, the use of coal releases sulfur dioxide, a harmful substance linked to acid rain.
What percentage of coal miners get black lung?
One in ten underground coal miners who have worked in mines for at least 25 years were identified as having black lung, according to a new report by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) published in the American Journal of Public Health .
How do coal miners die?
Pneumoconioses (meaning dusty lung) can cause impairment, disability and premature death. The two main types of pneumoconioses that affect miners are coal workers’ pneumoconiosis (CWP), commonly called black lung, and silicosis.
How many miners die a year?
Why is coal so bad?
Air pollution from coal-fired power plants is linked with asthma, cancer, heart and lung ailments, neurological problems, acid rain, global warming, and other severe environmental and public health impacts.
What are the positive effects of coal mining?
10 reasons why coal is a good energy source:
- Cheapest source of energy. …
- Coal also provides a stable source of energy (no Arab oil embargoes, no sudden scarcity like you experience with natural gas) and there is a very plentiful supply both in the U.S. and in other foreign countries.
Why is coal bad for you?
Emissions from burning coal
Nitrogen oxides (NOx), which contribute to smog and respiratory illnesses. Particulates, which contribute to smog, haze, and respiratory illnesses and lung disease. Carbon dioxide (CO2), which is the primary greenhouse gas produced from burning fossil fuels (coal, oil, and natural gas)
How many abandoned mines are there?
There are approximately 500,000 abandoned hardrock mines in the United States, with an estimated cleanup cost as high as $54 billion.
Why do mines get abandoned?
Subsidence (collapsing ground) Blasting caps and other undetonated explosives. Blackdamp accumulating in old mines, which can cause suffocation. Hidden mine shafts, often hidden beneath bushes and grasses and other vegetation that has grown up around the mine entrance.
How do abandoned mines affect the environment?
Many surface and underground abandoned mines, and their associated spoil and refuse piles, provide an ongoing source of acid mine drainage and toxic heavy metals that can have long-term devastating impacts on ground water, community water supplies, rivers, streams, and aquatic life.