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.
How coal is mined?
Coal miners use two primary methods to remove coal
In surface mining, large machines remove the topsoil and layers of rock known as overburden to expose coal seams. Mountaintop removal is a form of surface mining where the tops of mountains are dynamited and removed to access coal seams.
Does coal mining still exist?
In the US, coal mining is a shrinking industry. In 1923, there were about 883,000 coal miners; today there are about 53,000. Working in coal mines is dangerous — miners have to deal with toxic gases, plus the threat of being crushed, drowned, or injured from fires and explosions.
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 waste does coal mining produce?
Is mining coal dangerous?
Open cut hazards are principally mine wall failures and vehicle collisions; underground mining hazards include suffocation, gas poisoning, roof collapse, rock burst, outbursts, and gas explosions. Firedamp explosions can trigger the much-more-dangerous coal dust explosions, which can engulf an entire pit.
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.
Who produces the most coal?
What country has the most coal?
Countries with the biggest coal reserves
- United States of America – 250.2 billion tonnes. …
- Russia – 160.3 billion tonnes. …
- Australia – 147.4 billion tonnes. …
- China – 138.8 billion tonnes. …
- India – 101.3 billion tonnes. …
- Indonesia – 37 billion tonnes. …
- Germany – 36.1 billion tonnes. …
- Ukraine – 34.37 billion tonnes.
What is the life expectancy of a coal miner?
The average life expectancy in the coal mines for those starting work at 15 y was found to be 58.91 y and 49.23 y for surface and underground workers respectively. In the coloured/metal mines they were 60.24 y and 56.55 y respectively.
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)
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 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.
Why is coal so cheap?
Coal is only considered cheap because coal plants do not have to pay for the full social and environmental costs of coal burning on people’s health, the natural environment, and our climate. … Wind power is now cheaper than coal in many markets; in the United States it’s now half the price of existing coal plants.
How dangerous is coal ash?
Coal ash is incredibly dangerous. Short-term exposure can bring irritation of the nose and throat, dizziness, nausea, vomiting, and shortness of breath. Long-term exposure can lead to liver damage, kidney damage, cardiac arrhythmia, and a variety of cancers.
Is coal ash good for anything?
Coal ash is commonly re-used in a number of ways. For example, it is used as structural fill or fill for abandoned mines; as a top layer on unpaved roads; as an ingredient in concrete, wallboard, and in school running tracks; as an agricultural soil additive; and as “cinders” to be spread on snowy roads.