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  Mining Methods

Coal is mined by two methods:

surface or 'opencast' mining
underground or 'deep' mining
The choice of mining method is largely determined by the geology of the coal deposit. Underground mining currently accounts for a bigger share of world coal production than opencast; although in several important coal producing countries surface mining is more common. For example, surface mining accounts for around 80% of production in Australia; while in the USA it is used for about 67% of production.In Indonesia majority is Surface Mining.
We will discuss here only the opencast mining method.
Surface Mining

Surface mining - also known as opencast or opencut mining - is only economicAL when the coal seam is near the surface. This method recovers a higher proportion of the coal deposit than underground mining as all coal seams are exploited - 90% or more of the coal can be recovered.

Large opencast mines can cover an area of many square kilometres and use very large pieces of equipment, including:

draglines, which remove the overburden
power shovels
large trucks, which transport overburden and coal
bucket wheel excavators
The overburden of soil and rock is first broken up by explosives; it is then removed by draglines or by shovel and truck. Once the coal seam is exposed, it is drilled, fractured and systematically mined in strips. The coal is then loaded on to large trucks or conveyors for transport to either the coal preparation plant or direct to where it will be used.
Land Reclamation after Surface Mining
Land reclamation is the process of protecting, restoring, and possibly even improving the land before, during, and after surface mining. As coal is removed from one section of a surface mine, the land at another part is returned, regarded, and replanted. In the end, this means that the land is preserved, nature has been protected, water and soil are conserved, and the land can be turned into productive farmland, forests, and lakes.
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