Chapter 6: Section 7 - The Costs and Benefits of Mining Minerals

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In this section you will find materials that support the implementation of EarthComm, Section 7: The Costs and Benefits of Mining Minerals.

Learning Outcomes

  • Use a model to demonstrate techniques for mining ore deposits.
  • Analyze and interpret data to explain trends in the mining industry.
  • Evaluate design solutions for mining mineral resources based on time, cost, and environmental concerns.

Inquiring Further

  1. To learn more about mineral resources and state revenue, visit the following web sites:

    Monitoring Cyclical Changes in U.S. Metals Activity, USGS
    Explains how fluctuations in the economy can affect the metals activity of the U.S.

    Mineral Commodity Summaries, USGS
    Click on the year to learn about the supply and demand of mineral resources, including those for specific states.
  2. To learn more about the environmental impacts of mining, visit the following web sites:

    Mining Impacts, Earthworks
    Summary of the environmental impacts of mining.

    The USGS Abandoned Mine Lands Initiative: Protecting and Restoring the Environment Near Abandoned Mine Lands, USGS
    Describes efforts to clean up Federal lands contaminated by abandoned mines.

    Studies of Suction Dredge Gold-Placer Mining Operations Along the Fortymile River, Eastern Alaska 100, USGS
    Looks at the environmental concerns associated with the mining activities along the Fortymile River.
  3. To learn more about sources of minerals, visit the following web sites:

    What are Minerals Used for?, Utah Geologic Survey
    Description of minerals and their common uses and applications.

    Minerals and Their Uses,
    Provides a list of minerals and their common uses and applications.

    Mineral Commodity Profiles, USGS
    Provides a list of minerals and their common uses and applications.


To learn more about this topic, visit the following web sites:


Mineral Extraction, The Environmental Literacy Council
Examines minerals, how they are mined and processed, and the mining industry.

Is Current Mining Yield Sustainable?, Massachusettes Institute of Technology
Describes the mining process, including finding a deposit, establishing a mine, mining, and purification.

Mining Methods, Kansas Geological Survey
Examines mining methods, including surface and underground.

Mining, Metals, Minerals: Introduction, Michigan State University
Looks at the factors that determine when and how to mine minerals.

Environmental and Safety Concerns

Safety & Health Topics, Mine Safety and Health Administration
Comprehensive list of tips and suggestions for preventing accidents in mining operations.