Dig One Big Hole (Utah Miners Question)

Why do they (or did they) keep digging shafts of say 30 or 40 feel wide to get at these guys? Why didn’t they just dig one big hole that wouldn’t collapse. Perhaps I am not saying this right but I hope someone can understand what I mean.

For that matter of fact why don’t they mine that way. Why dig tunnels, why not just start at the top and remove the dirt until they hit the coal?

Is it a matter of cost? Or is it an environment thing?

“Starting at the top and removing dirt until they hit coal” (or other material) is called strip mining. You can look that up, compare the two, and see what you think.

From what I understand, they were drilling, not digging, holes about six inches in diameter. Drilling goes much faster than digging.

As for why they don’t just mine by digging a big hole down from the surface? A lot of coal is surface-mined, but open-pit or strip-mining methods are sometimes unpopular with environmentalists. In years past, there were a lot of “dig and run” jobs, but now, the mining companies are often required to erase their tracks - fill in the holes, re-plant the appropriate plants and bring back whatever animals were displaced. In this case, the coal is in a mountain, which isn’t practical to dig up.

This is GQ. Why not provide a link instead of a snipe?

That was a snipe?

Open pit mining is already used for the majority of coal production in the US. The problem in Utah in the area of the mine in question is cost - there is so darned much overburden on top of the coal that even if they wanted to remove the whole mountaintop, you’re talking about cubic miles of rock that would need to be moved. I’ve been there, and seen it (not to that mine, but others close by…) It would not be very economical at all in that situation, environmental concerns aside.

My grandparents lived up in East Texas had a strip mine come right through their farm. When the mining was done the company replaced all of the top soil, reterraced, reseeded and refenced all of the land back to my grandfathers specifications and he ended up making a ton of cash off the deal. They and come and strip mine my neighborhood anytime they please.