Physical Disturbance by Extraction

Minerals are embedded in Earth's crust. Because of their location, they are sometimes referred to in resource accounting as underground or subsoil assets. Thus, intensive physical disturbance of Earth's surface is inevitable during resource extraction (i.e., mining activities). To obtain target ores, underground or surface mining is necessary. In the latter case, overburden above the mineral seam is removed. Mining activities cause changes in land cover and land degradation, and occasionally result in damage to various ecosystems. When new mining sites are developed, existing vegetation and wildlife habitats are destroyed and surface topography is ravaged as overburden is removed. These changes are not necessarily permanent if restoration efforts are undertaken, but irreversible changes need to be identifi ed and avoided to ensure environmental sustainability.

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