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Mountaintop Mining/Valley Fill Process

What is mountaintop mining?

 
cross section of coal and rock

Step 1. Layers of rock and soil above the coal (called overburden) are removed

photograph of a coal outcrop
 
 
cross section showing removed coal layers and valley fill

Step 2. The upper seams of coal are removed with spoils placed in an adjacent valley

photograph of spoil being dumped
 
 
cross section of coal seams showing dragline placement

Step 3. Draglines excavate lower layers of coal with spoils placed in spoil piles

aerial photograph of a dragline
 
 
cross section of coal seams showing regrading

Step 4. Regrading begins as coal excavation continues

aerial photograph of coal excavation
 
 
cross section of coal seams and regraded spoil

Step 5. Once coal removal is complete, final regrading takes place and the area is revegetated

aerial photograph of a regraded fill

Mid-Atlantic Region || Mid-Atlantic Env'l Assessment & Innovation || Mid-Atlantic Mountaintop Mining


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