Coal mining is the method of removing coal from the earth is charcoal mining. Coal is prized for its energy quality, and has been commonly used for electricity production since the 1880s. The steel and cement industries use coal as a fuel for iron extraction from iron ore and for the manufacture of cement. A coal mine and its structures are a colliery in the United Kingdom and South Africa, a coal mine is a ‘pit,’ and the above-ground structures are a ‘pit head.’ Throughout Australia, “colliery” applies usually to an abandoned coal mine. “Colliery” has been used in the United States[when? ] Describe the operation of a coal mine but this usage is less common.
In the past few years, coal mining has seen many innovations, from the early days of people tunneling, digging, and manually grinding coal on carts to wide open cutting and long wall mining. This scale of mining includes the use of draglines, trucks, conveyors, hydraulic jacks and shearers.
Coal mining has taken on immense human health and environmental cost. Vast tracts of forests , mountains and farm land were cleared to make way for coal mines. Communities were expelled by force and their lands lost.
Communities living near mines are suffering from contamination of the air and the water. We face shortened life expectancies and elevated lung and heart cancer, cardiovascular, and kidney disease levels. Pregnant women have a higher risk of low birthweight babies. In the United States Appalachia region, entire mountains were dug up for coal mining. An approximate 3800 kilometers of streams were contaminated by removal mining from the mountaintops. The resulting toxins in drinking water have caused thousands of premature deaths and a 26 percent rise in birth defects.
Miners face considerable physical risk due to fires , explosions and mine collapses. Around 4,000-6,000 workers in China die each year from underground mining accidents. Miners are often exposed directly to poisonous gases, coal dust and radioactive metals, raising their risk for fatal lung diseases like pneumoconiosis and silicosis.
The toll is serious on physical environment. Acid mine pollution is one of the gravest impacts of coal mining. Acid mine runoff contaminates land and surface water with minerally exposed heavy metals and contaminants. This damages marine habitats and sources of water upon which communities rely for drinking and agriculture.
Huge volumes of groundwater are extracted from aquifers during mining activities so that mining firms can reach coal reserves-up to 10,000 liters per ton of coal. A number of planned mines are expected to draw 1,343 gigaliters of water in Australia’s Galilee Basin-more than 2-1/2 times the volume of water in Sydney Harbour. Such diversion would lower the water table significantly, rendering local wells unusable and affecting neighboring rivers. There is also significant erosion and sedimentation of streams, wetlands and rivers resulting from open cut mines.
Today communities around the world are rising up in countries as diverse as China, India , the United States, Indonesia , Australia, Colombia and South Africa to condemn new coal mines and seek reparations and restoration for the effects on their livelihoods and the natural environment.