Environmental remediation in Utah occurs on a daily basis at active, closed, and abandoned mine sites.To understand the importance of environmental reclamation, it is also important to understand mining in Utah. This article provides a brief overview of the main types of mining in Utah, other types of mines, and the importance of mining to the Utah economy. Future articles discuss the specific types of mine waste found in Utah requiring site remediation.
Mining in Utah
- Utah’s mining production totaled $3.7 billion in 2018.
- Metals accounted for 2.1 billion, with $1.8 billion coming from Rio Tinto Kennecott alone), industrial minerals accounted for $1.2 billion, and coal for $450 million.
- Utah is actively engaged searching for new metals including beryllium, magnesium and potash. Potential new metals include uranium, vanadium, and lithium.
Types of Mines in Utah and the United States
Open pit mining
In the video above you see an example of the type of blasting operations carried out at different open pit mines. At Anderson, we provide engineering field services to mining companies by working with blasting crews to provide field sampling for data collection of ore quality. This data is then used for future mine planning and excavation.
Dredging is another type of surface mining that is used to mine heavy metallic minerals that deposit as sediment at the bottom of waterways. Dredging involves using a variety of devices to loosen, extract, and remove the desired deposit from the riverbed or ocean floor. Dredging is not common in the US for metallic mineral mining anymore with most operations ceasing in the 1990’s.
In Utah, the majority of underground mining is associated with coal mining. In 2018, five Utah coal operators produced 13.8 million short tons of coal valued at $454 million from seven underground mines and one surface mine. The largest producers of coal in short tons in Utah are:
In Situ Solution Mining
Mining in the United States
The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) Mineral Resources Data System catalogs information about mineral resources around the United States and the world. Using the map tool, users can zoom in to obtain reports and data on past and present mines, mine prospects, and processing plants. All of the data can be downloaded for further use and…