Environmental Science Minerals Play a Very Important Essay

Excerpt from Essay :

Environmental Science


Minerals play a very important part in society, in terms of both the economy and health. People use minerals to stay healthy by means of food supplements. Minerals are also present in foods that people eat. Minerals also play a very important part in the mining industry and in the economy. According to the Mine-Engineer.com (2011) Website, the mining industry in the United States includes 140,000 employees.

Metallic minerals can be melted to obtain new products. Two examples of these are iron and copper. They are usually associated with igneous rocks and are generally used to manufacture products that can be used for various purposes. Such products might include wire or wheels. Non-metallic minerals are not melted to yield new products. Two example include salt and marble, which can be used for flavoring food and building material, respectively.



Minerals are extracted and processed during the mining process. Minerals are extracted from the earth in their crude form, after which they are processed by means of industrial processes to refine them and make them available for commercial use. Copper ore, for example, is melted down to separate the metal from the rock and earth with which it is mined.


According to Mining.Net (2011), three types of mining include dredging, surface mining, and underground mining. Dredging is done close to a good water source and is generally used when large volumes of low-value product are extracted. Surface mining occur as open-cast or open-pit mining, depending on whether soft- or hard-rock mining is at issue. Underground mining occurs by means of vertical shafts or roadways that are inclined downwards. Two access routes are used for miners and materials, respectively.


There are several potential impacts that mining can have on the environment (Montana State University, 2004). These include acid mine drainage formation, erosion and sedimentation, chemical releases, fugitive dust emissions, natural habitat modification, and pollution to surface and groundwater. Mine managers need to be aware of these potential effects in order to mitigate them and to create an optimal balance between mining profit and environmental sustainability.



Soil is a composition of dust, sand, plant, and mineral particles from which plants can extract water, air, and nutrition to grow. One definition of soil might be that it is the sustenance that plants need to exist and grow. It is therefore one of the basis points of all food and life on earth. Soil is vital to the environment, since it serves as the primary food and anchor source for plants. Plants are essential to maintain the oxygen levels on earth so that animal and human life can exist.


In addition to mineral particles, soil also contains living organisms. When plants and animals die, fungi and bacteria in the soil decompose them. This organic matter then becomes humus, which is processed by soil organisms such as earthworms, beetles, and termites. The processed humus then acts as food sources for plants and trees. The bacteria then supplies the soil with nutrients that are consumed by larger soil organisms (Pidwimy, 2010).


Soil erosion means the removal of soil. In ancient times, soil erosion occurred roughly at the same rate as the formation of soil. More recently, however, human activity has resulted in rapid soil erosion, where soil is removed faster than it is formed. This could occur by means of ineffective farming or grazing methods. Soil can become polluted by means of human made chemicals. Usually, this is the result of dumping chemicals and other pollutants in the soil. Soil erosion and pollution cause infertility to landmasses and therefore erodes the ability of plants to grow and farmers to grow crops.


The purpose of soil reclamation is to make land more usable by adding or removing an element that makes it difficult to use. Soil can, for example, be reclaimed from seabeds. Saturated land can be drained, or arid land can be watered to make more intensive use possible. Soil reclamation is a method that ensures greater crop growth and food supply to the world.

Forestry and Rangeland Resources and Management Strategies


Government-owned lands are those that are managed by government agencies, generally for some collective public or environmental purpose. Public-owned lands are generally managed by community agencies…

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