Mountaintop removal is a surface mining practice in which up to 800 feet of the top of a mountain is removed by blasting, and the material is placed in a nearby valley, in order to get access to thin seams of coal in the mountain. The coal is then removed by a dragline excavator, and the mountaintop is restored or, more usually, a variance is granted that allows the mining company to develop the site for another use. This practice is increasingly common in the eastern United States coalfields.
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A Geologic Overview of Mountaintop Removal Mining
West Virginia Geological and Economic Survey coal geologists report to the Economic Committee of the Governor's Task Force on Mountaintop Removal and Related Mining Methods. [PDF] (October 26, 1998)
Last update:October 29, 2015 at 10:15:02 UTC