Nevada Commission on Mineral Resources
Division of Minerals
Mining Industry: Mining is the process of extracting
mineral resources from the earth so they can be made into essential
products required by our society.
The world's ability to support its population is sustained by the
many minerals provided by mining. Virtually all of mankind's
material needs must be dug from the earth, grown in the soil, or
taken from the sea. Our horn of plenty literally begins with a mine.
Stop and think about the following minerals and their important
Copper: wiring for
motors, telephones, televisions, computers, home appliances,
functional/decorative hardware, coins.
Lithium: lubricating grease, high efficiency batteries,
Magnesite: lining kilns/boilers, sugar, additive in
Barite: oil well drilling mud, bowling balls, rubber,
main ingredient in wallboard (sheetrock) and used
as a soil conditioner.
Sand, Gravel and other Aggregates:
roadways, cement, cinder blocks, golf
course sand traps.
Silica sand: window panes, fiber
optics, jars and bottles.
Zinc: plating, rust inhibitors, paint.
and geologists begin to plan for the construction of a mine, they
must consider state and federal requirements to protect the air,
water, land and wildlife in the area.
Mining is only a temporary use of the land. The land has a
specific use prior to mining and it will have another specific use
after mining. The anticipated future use of the land must be planned
State and federal laws require money, known as a performance
bond, to be set aside by the mining company to ensure that
reclamation will be completed.
The reshaping of the land for future uses is called reclamation.
Reclamation: Many mining operations are
reclaiming lands disturbed by past activities
while continuing to develop the mineral resources in other parts of
the mining area. This is called concurrent
the Landscape: A key element of any mined
land reclamation effort is the reshaping and contouring of the land
disturbed by mining so that it "blends" with the
surrounding area. Engineering and resource experts are important in
this phase of the reclamation process. However, dedicated equipment
operators who have developed unique skills in shaping the land are
critical to successful shaping and contouring.
Preparation and Planting: Revegetating
disturbed areas requires good ground preparation which will minimize
erosion, hold moisture and protect emerging seedlings. Seed mixtures
are often recommended by state or federal agencies. Sometimes live
plants or trees are planted rather than seeds.
Mine Facilities: When mining and mineral
processing are complete, building and equipment must be removed and
the area left in a clean, safe condition. A significant part of
closing a mineral processing operation is the removal of any
chemicals that may later cause problems in the environment. Ore
heaps that were treated with dilute chemicals must be rinsed until
the water passing through the heap meets safe water standards
established by the state.
Monitoring: Monitoring of a reclaimed
mining area continues for many years after the operation has shut
down. Groundwater and surface water are analyzed and the success of
revegatation efforts are evaluated over time to ensure the site has
met and continues to meet reclamation objectives. The performance
bond is released only after government regulators are certain the
site is stable and revegatation success criteria have been met.
Habitat Improvements: As with most modern
development projects, such as
residential areas and airports, mining also impacts wildlife habitat
in the areas disturbed. Successful mined land reclamation, however,
will provide future wildlife habitat. Many mining companies
participate in wildlife enhancement projects away from the mine site
to offset the short term loss of habitat while mining takes place.
"The mining industry in Nevada has recognized the benefits
of enhancing the land for improved wildlife habitat both during and
after mining." (Doug Hunt: Habitat Bureau Chief, Nevada
Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, Division of
Land used for minerals
to benefit our generation is being reclaimed for future generations.
Reclamation is ongoing throughout Nevada. Areas disturbed by mining
activities are shaped and planted to blend with the surrounding
landscape, benefiting wildlife and providing for other uses.
Reclamation activities are an upfront, essential part of all mining
operations, approved by state and federal agencies. Modern mining
reclamation is part of Nevada’s future.
People who care...
Nevada Commission on Mineral Resources,
Division of Minerals
400 W. King St., #106, Carson City, NV 89703
Phone: 775-684-7040; Fax: 775-684-7052
2030 E. Flamingo Rd., #220, Las Vegas, NV 89119
Phone: 702-486-4343; Fax: 702-486-4345
DISCLAIMER OF ENDORSEMENT: Any reference obtained from this site to a specific
product, process or service does not constitute or imply and endorsement
by the Nevada Division of Minerals, the Nevada Commission on Mineral
Resources, or the State of Nevada of the product, process, or service,
or its producer or provider. The views and opinions expressed in any
referenced document do not necessarily state or reflect those of the
Nevada Division of Minerals, the Nevada Commission on Mineral Resources,
or the State of Nevada.