Open-pit mining
Overview
 
Open-pit mining or opencast mining refers to a method of extracting rock
Rock (geology)
In geology, rock or stone is a naturally occurring solid aggregate of minerals and/or mineraloids.The Earth's outer solid layer, the lithosphere, is made of rock. In general rocks are of three types, namely, igneous, sedimentary, and metamorphic...

 or minerals from the earth by their removal from an open pit or borrow
Borrow pit
A borrow pit, also known as a sand box, is a term used in construction and civil engineering. It describes an area where material has been dug for use at another location. Borrow pits can be found close to many major construction projects...

.

The term is used to differentiate this form of mining
Mining
Mining is the extraction of valuable minerals or other geological materials from the earth, from an ore body, vein or seam. The term also includes the removal of soil. Materials recovered by mining include base metals, precious metals, iron, uranium, coal, diamonds, limestone, oil shale, rock...

 from extractive methods that require tunneling into the earth. Open-pit mines are used when deposits of commercially useful mineral
Mineral
A mineral is a naturally occurring solid chemical substance formed through biogeochemical processes, having characteristic chemical composition, highly ordered atomic structure, and specific physical properties. By comparison, a rock is an aggregate of minerals and/or mineraloids and does not...

s or rock
Rock (geology)
In geology, rock or stone is a naturally occurring solid aggregate of minerals and/or mineraloids.The Earth's outer solid layer, the lithosphere, is made of rock. In general rocks are of three types, namely, igneous, sedimentary, and metamorphic...

 are found near the surface; that is, where the overburden
Overburden
Overburden is the material that lies above an area of economic or scientific interest in mining and archaeology; most commonly the rock, soil, and ecosystem that lies above a coal seam or ore body. It is also known as 'waste' or 'spoil'...

 (surface material covering the valuable deposit) is relatively thin or the material of interest is structurally unsuitable for tunneling (as would be the case for sand, cinder, and gravel).
Encyclopedia
Open-pit mining or opencast mining refers to a method of extracting rock
Rock (geology)
In geology, rock or stone is a naturally occurring solid aggregate of minerals and/or mineraloids.The Earth's outer solid layer, the lithosphere, is made of rock. In general rocks are of three types, namely, igneous, sedimentary, and metamorphic...

 or minerals from the earth by their removal from an open pit or borrow
Borrow pit
A borrow pit, also known as a sand box, is a term used in construction and civil engineering. It describes an area where material has been dug for use at another location. Borrow pits can be found close to many major construction projects...

.

The term is used to differentiate this form of mining
Mining
Mining is the extraction of valuable minerals or other geological materials from the earth, from an ore body, vein or seam. The term also includes the removal of soil. Materials recovered by mining include base metals, precious metals, iron, uranium, coal, diamonds, limestone, oil shale, rock...

 from extractive methods that require tunneling into the earth. Open-pit mines are used when deposits of commercially useful mineral
Mineral
A mineral is a naturally occurring solid chemical substance formed through biogeochemical processes, having characteristic chemical composition, highly ordered atomic structure, and specific physical properties. By comparison, a rock is an aggregate of minerals and/or mineraloids and does not...

s or rock
Rock (geology)
In geology, rock or stone is a naturally occurring solid aggregate of minerals and/or mineraloids.The Earth's outer solid layer, the lithosphere, is made of rock. In general rocks are of three types, namely, igneous, sedimentary, and metamorphic...

 are found near the surface; that is, where the overburden
Overburden
Overburden is the material that lies above an area of economic or scientific interest in mining and archaeology; most commonly the rock, soil, and ecosystem that lies above a coal seam or ore body. It is also known as 'waste' or 'spoil'...

 (surface material covering the valuable deposit) is relatively thin or the material of interest is structurally unsuitable for tunneling (as would be the case for sand, cinder, and gravel). For minerals that occur deep below the surface—where the overburden is thick or the mineral occurs as veins in hard rock—underground mining methods extract the valued material.

Open-pit mines that produce building material
Building material
Building material is any material which is used for a construction purpose. Many naturally occurring substances, such as clay, sand, wood and rocks, even twigs and leaves have been used to construct buildings. Apart from naturally occurring materials, many man-made products are in use, some more...

s and dimension stone
Dimension stone
Dimension stone is natural stone or rock that has been selected and fabricated to specific sizes or shapes. Color, texture and pattern, and surface finish of the stone are also normal requirements...

 are commonly referred to as quarries
Quarry
A quarry is a type of open-pit mine from which rock or minerals are extracted. Quarries are generally used for extracting building materials, such as dimension stone, construction aggregate, riprap, sand, and gravel. They are often collocated with concrete and asphalt plants due to the requirement...

. People are unlikely to make a distinction between an open-pit mine and other types of open-cast mines, such as quarries, borrows
Borrow pit
A borrow pit, also known as a sand box, is a term used in construction and civil engineering. It describes an area where material has been dug for use at another location. Borrow pits can be found close to many major construction projects...

, placers
Placer mining
Placer mining is the mining of alluvial deposits for minerals. This may be done by open-pit or by various surface excavating equipment or tunneling equipment....

, and strip mines.

Open-pit mines are typically enlarged until either the mineral resource
Mineral resource classification
Mineral resource classification is the classification of mineral deposits based on their geologic certainty and economic value.Mineral deposits can be classified as:...

 is exhausted, or an increasing ratio of overburden to ore makes further mining uneconomic. When this occurs, the exhausted mines are sometimes converted to landfill
Landfill
A landfill site , is a site for the disposal of waste materials by burial and is the oldest form of waste treatment...

s for disposal of solid wastes. However, some form of water control is usually required to keep the mine pit from becoming a lake
Lake
A lake is a body of relatively still fresh or salt water of considerable size, localized in a basin, that is surrounded by land. Lakes are inland and not part of the ocean and therefore are distinct from lagoons, and are larger and deeper than ponds. Lakes can be contrasted with rivers or streams,...

.

Extraction

Open-pit mines are dug on benches
Bench (geology)
In geomorphology, geography and geology, a bench or benchland is a long, relatively narrow strip of relatively level or gently inclined land that is bounded by distinctly steeper slopes above and below it...

, which describe vertical levels of the hole. These benches are usually on four metre to sixty metre intervals, depending on the size of the machinery that is being used. Many quarries do not use benches, as they are usually shallow.

Most walls of the pit are generally dug on an angle less than vertical, to prevent and minimise damage and danger from rock falls. This depends on how weathered the rocks are, and the type of rock, and also how many structural weaknesses occur within the rocks, such as a fault, shears, joints or foliations
Foliation (geology)
Foliation is any penetrative planar fabric present in rocks. Foliation is common to rocks affected by regional metamorphic compression typical of orogenic belts. Rocks exhibiting foliation include the standard sequence formed by the prograde metamorphism of mudrocks; slate, phyllite, schist and...

.

The walls are stepped. The inclined section of the wall is known as the batter, and the flat part of the step is known as the bench or berm. The steps in the walls help prevent rock falls continuing down the entire face of the wall. In some instances additional ground support is required and rock bolt
Rock bolt
A rock bolt is a long anchor bolt, for stabilizing rock excavations, which may be tunnels or rock cuts. It transfers load from the unstable exterior, to the confined interior of the rock mass....

s, cable bolts and shotcrete are used. De-watering bores may be used to relieve water pressure by drilling horizontally into the wall, which is often enough to cause failures in the wall by itself.

A haul road is usually situated at the side of the pit, forming a ramp up which truck
Truck
A truck or lorry is a motor vehicle designed to transport cargo. Trucks vary greatly in size, power, and configuration, with the smallest being mechanically similar to an automobile...

s can drive, carrying ore
Ore
An ore is a type of rock that contains minerals with important elements including metals. The ores are extracted through mining; these are then refined to extract the valuable element....

 and waste rock.

Waste rock is piled up at the surface, near the edge of the open pit. This is known as the waste dump. The waste dump is also tiered and stepped, to minimise degradation
Environmental degradation
Environmental degradation is the deterioration of the environment through depletion of resources such as air, water and soil; the destruction of ecosystems and the extinction of wildlife...

.

Ore which has been processed is known as tailings
Tailings
Tailings, also called mine dumps, slimes, tails, leach residue, or slickens, are the materials left over after the process of separating the valuable fraction from the uneconomic fraction of an ore...

, and is generally a slurry. This is pumped to a tailings dam or settling pond, where the water evaporates. Tailings dams can often be toxic due to the presence of unextracted sulfide
Sulfide
A sulfide is an anion of sulfur in its lowest oxidation state of 2-. Sulfide is also a slightly archaic term for thioethers, a common type of organosulfur compound that are well known for their bad odors.- Properties :...

 minerals, some forms of toxic minerals in the gangue, and often cyanide
Cyanide
A cyanide is a chemical compound that contains the cyano group, -C≡N, which consists of a carbon atom triple-bonded to a nitrogen atom. Cyanides most commonly refer to salts of the anion CN−. Most cyanides are highly toxic....

 which is used to treat gold
Gold
Gold is a chemical element with the symbol Au and an atomic number of 79. Gold is a dense, soft, shiny, malleable and ductile metal. Pure gold has a bright yellow color and luster traditionally considered attractive, which it maintains without oxidizing in air or water. Chemically, gold is a...

 ore via the cyanide leach process
Gold cyanidation
Gold cyanidation is a metallurgical technique for extracting gold from low-grade ore by converting the gold to a water soluble coordination complex. It is the most commonly used process for gold extraction...

. This toxicity has the potential to negatively impact on the surrounding environment.

Rehabilitation

After mining finishes, the mine area must undergo rehabilitation
Land rehabilitation
Land rehabilitation is the process of returning the land in a given area to some degree of its former state, after some process has resulted in its damage...

. Waste dumps are contoured to flatten them out, to further stabilise them. If the ore contains sulfides it is usually covered with a layer of clay
Clay
Clay is a general term including many combinations of one or more clay minerals with traces of metal oxides and organic matter. Geologic clay deposits are mostly composed of phyllosilicate minerals containing variable amounts of water trapped in the mineral structure.- Formation :Clay minerals...

 to prevent access of rain
Rain
Rain is liquid precipitation, as opposed to non-liquid kinds of precipitation such as snow, hail and sleet. Rain requires the presence of a thick layer of the atmosphere to have temperatures above the melting point of water near and above the Earth's surface...

 and oxygen
Oxygen
Oxygen is the element with atomic number 8 and represented by the symbol O. Its name derives from the Greek roots ὀξύς and -γενής , because at the time of naming, it was mistakenly thought that all acids required oxygen in their composition...

 from the air, which can oxidise the sulfides to produce sulfuric acid
Sulfuric acid
Sulfuric acid is a strong mineral acid with the molecular formula . Its historical name is oil of vitriol. Pure sulfuric acid is a highly corrosive, colorless, viscous liquid. The salts of sulfuric acid are called sulfates...

, a phenomenon known as acid mine drainage
Acid mine drainage
Acid mine drainage , or acid rock drainage , refers to the outflow of acidic water from metal mines or coal mines. However, other areas where the earth has been disturbed may also contribute acid rock drainage to the environment...

. This is then generally covered with soil
Soil
Soil is a natural body consisting of layers of mineral constituents of variable thicknesses, which differ from the parent materials in their morphological, physical, chemical, and mineralogical characteristics...

, and vegetation is planted to help consolidate the material. Eventually this layer will erode, but it is generally hoped that the rate of leaching or acid will be slowed by the cover such that the environment can handle the load of acid and associated heavy metals. There are no long term studies on the success of these covers due to the relatively short time in which large scale open pit mining has existed. It may take hundreds to thousands of years for some waste dumps to become "acid neutral" and stop leaching to the environment. The dumps are usually fenced off to prevent livestock
Livestock
Livestock refers to one or more domesticated animals raised in an agricultural setting to produce commodities such as food, fiber and labor. The term "livestock" as used in this article does not include poultry or farmed fish; however the inclusion of these, especially poultry, within the meaning...

 denuding them of vegetation. The open pit is then surrounded with a fence
Fence
A fence is a freestanding structure designed to restrict or prevent movement across a boundary. It is generally distinguished from a wall by the lightness of its construction: a wall is usually restricted to such barriers made from solid brick or concrete, blocking vision as well as passage .Fences...

, to prevent access, and it generally eventually fills up with ground water. In arid areas it may not fill due to deep groundwater levels.

Typical open cut grades

Gold
Gold
Gold is a chemical element with the symbol Au and an atomic number of 79. Gold is a dense, soft, shiny, malleable and ductile metal. Pure gold has a bright yellow color and luster traditionally considered attractive, which it maintains without oxidizing in air or water. Chemically, gold is a...

 is generally extracted in open-pit mines at 1 to 2 ppm (grams per tonne) but in certain cases, 0.75ppm gold is economical. This was achieved by bulk heap leaching
Heap leaching
Heap leaching is an industrial mining process to extract precious metals, copper, uranium, and other compounds from ore.The process has ancient origins; one of the classical methods for the manufacture of copperas was to heap up iron pyrite and collect the leachate from the heap, which was then...

 at Alkane Minerals Ltd. Peak Hill mine in western New South Wales
New South Wales
New South Wales is a state of :Australia, located in the east of the country. It is bordered by Queensland, Victoria and South Australia to the north, south and west respectively. To the east, the state is bordered by the Tasman Sea, which forms part of the Pacific Ocean. New South Wales...

, near Dubbo, Australia
Australia
Australia , officially the Commonwealth of Australia, is a country in the Southern Hemisphere comprising the mainland of the Australian continent, the island of Tasmania, and numerous smaller islands in the Indian and Pacific Oceans. It is the world's sixth-largest country by total area...

.

Nickel
Nickel
Nickel is a chemical element with the chemical symbol Ni and atomic number 28. It is a silvery-white lustrous metal with a slight golden tinge. Nickel belongs to the transition metals and is hard and ductile...

, generally as laterite, is extracted via open-pit down to 0.2%.
Copper
Copper
Copper is a chemical element with the symbol Cu and atomic number 29. It is a ductile metal with very high thermal and electrical conductivity. Pure copper is soft and malleable; an exposed surface has a reddish-orange tarnish...

 is extracted at grades as low as 0.15% to 0.2%, generally in massive open-pit mines in Chile
Chile
Chile ,officially the Republic of Chile , is a country in South America occupying a long, narrow coastal strip between the Andes mountains to the east and the Pacific Ocean to the west. It borders Peru to the north, Bolivia to the northeast, Argentina to the east, and the Drake Passage in the far...

, where the size of the resources and favorable metallurgy
Metallurgy
Metallurgy is a domain of materials science that studies the physical and chemical behavior of metallic elements, their intermetallic compounds, and their mixtures, which are called alloys. It is also the technology of metals: the way in which science is applied to their practical use...

 allows economies of scale.

Materials typically extracted from open-pit mines include:
  • Clay
    Clay
    Clay is a general term including many combinations of one or more clay minerals with traces of metal oxides and organic matter. Geologic clay deposits are mostly composed of phyllosilicate minerals containing variable amounts of water trapped in the mineral structure.- Formation :Clay minerals...

  • Coal
    Coal
    Coal is a combustible black or brownish-black sedimentary rock usually occurring in rock strata in layers or veins called coal beds or coal seams. The harder forms, such as anthracite coal, can be regarded as metamorphic rock because of later exposure to elevated temperature and pressure...

  • Coquina
    Coquina
    Coquina is a sedimentary rock that is composed either wholly or almost entirely of the transported, abraded, and mechanically sorted fragments of the shells of either molluscs, trilobites, brachiopods, or other invertebrates. For a sediment to be considered to be a coquina, the average size of the...

  • Diamonds
  • Gravel
    Gravel
    Gravel is composed of unconsolidated rock fragments that have a general particle size range and include size classes from granule- to boulder-sized fragments. Gravel can be sub-categorized into granule and cobble...

     and stone
    Rock (geology)
    In geology, rock or stone is a naturally occurring solid aggregate of minerals and/or mineraloids.The Earth's outer solid layer, the lithosphere, is made of rock. In general rocks are of three types, namely, igneous, sedimentary, and metamorphic...

     (stone refers to bedrock, while gravel is unconsolidated material, as found in glacial
    Glacier
    A glacier is a large persistent body of ice that forms where the accumulation of snow exceeds its ablation over many years, often centuries. At least 0.1 km² in area and 50 m thick, but often much larger, a glacier slowly deforms and flows due to stresses induced by its weight...

     or fluvial
    Fluvial
    Fluvial is used in geography and Earth science to refer to the processes associated with rivers and streams and the deposits and landforms created by them...

     deposits)
  • Granite
    Granite
    Granite is a common and widely occurring type of intrusive, felsic, igneous rock. Granite usually has a medium- to coarse-grained texture. Occasionally some individual crystals are larger than the groundmass, in which case the texture is known as porphyritic. A granitic rock with a porphyritic...

  • Gritstone
    Gritstone
    Gritstone or Grit is a hard, coarse-grained, siliceous sandstone. This term is especially applied to such sandstones that are quarried for building material. British gritstone was used for millstones to mill flour, to grind wood into pulp for paper and for grindstones to sharpen blades. "Grit" is...

  • Gypsum
    Gypsum
    Gypsum is a very soft sulfate mineral composed of calcium sulfate dihydrate, with the chemical formula CaSO4·2H2O. It is found in alabaster, a decorative stone used in Ancient Egypt. It is the second softest mineral on the Mohs Hardness Scale...

  • Limestone
    Limestone
    Limestone is a sedimentary rock composed largely of the minerals calcite and aragonite, which are different crystal forms of calcium carbonate . Many limestones are composed from skeletal fragments of marine organisms such as coral or foraminifera....

  • Marble
    Marble
    Marble is a metamorphic rock composed of recrystallized carbonate minerals, most commonly calcite or dolomite.Geologists use the term "marble" to refer to metamorphosed limestone; however stonemasons use the term more broadly to encompass unmetamorphosed limestone.Marble is commonly used for...

  • Metal
    Metal
    A metal , is an element, compound, or alloy that is a good conductor of both electricity and heat. Metals are usually malleable and shiny, that is they reflect most of incident light...

     ores
    Orés
    Orés is a municipality in the Cinco Villas, in the province of Zaragoza, in the autonomous community of Aragon, Spain. It belongs to the comarca of Cinco Villas. It is placed 104 km to the northwest of the provincial capital city, Zaragoza. Its coordinates are: 42° 17' N, 1° 00' W, and is...

    , such as copper
    Copper
    Copper is a chemical element with the symbol Cu and atomic number 29. It is a ductile metal with very high thermal and electrical conductivity. Pure copper is soft and malleable; an exposed surface has a reddish-orange tarnish...

    , iron
    Iron
    Iron is a chemical element with the symbol Fe and atomic number 26. It is a metal in the first transition series. It is the most common element forming the planet Earth as a whole, forming much of Earth's outer and inner core. It is the fourth most common element in the Earth's crust...

    , gold
    Gold
    Gold is a chemical element with the symbol Au and an atomic number of 79. Gold is a dense, soft, shiny, malleable and ductile metal. Pure gold has a bright yellow color and luster traditionally considered attractive, which it maintains without oxidizing in air or water. Chemically, gold is a...

    , and molybdenum
    Molybdenum
    Molybdenum , is a Group 6 chemical element with the symbol Mo and atomic number 42. The name is from Neo-Latin Molybdaenum, from Ancient Greek , meaning lead, itself proposed as a loanword from Anatolian Luvian and Lydian languages, since its ores were confused with lead ores...


Open-pit mines

This list includes only those large open-pit mines for which an article exists in Wikipedia.

Argentina

  • Cerro Vanguardia Mine
    Cerro Vanguardia Mine
    The Cerro Vanguardia Mine is a gold and silver mine located 150 km north west of Puerto San Julián, in the Santa Cruz province of Argentina. It is majority-owned and operated by AngloGold Ashanti, which holds a 92.5% interest in the mine...

    ; gold and silver mine located near Puerto San Julián
    Puerto San Julián
    Puerto San Julián, also known historically as Port St Julian, is a natural harbour in Patagonia in the Santa Cruz Province of Argentina located at . In the days of sailing ships it formed a stopping point, south of Puerto Deseado...

    , Santa Cruz
    Santa Cruz Province (Argentina)
    Santa Cruz is a province of Argentina, located in the southern part of the country, in Patagonia. It borders Chubut province to the north, and Chile to the west and south. To the east is the Atlantic Ocean...

    .
  • Pascua Lama
    Pascua Lama
    Pascua-Lama is an open pit mining project of gold, silver, copper and other minerals. Pascua Lama is located in the Andes mountains, south of Atacama, straddling the border between Chile and Argentina at an altitude of over 4,500 metres. Toronto-based Barrick Gold, the world's largest gold mining...

     – binational gold and silver mine in San Juan
    San Juan Province (Argentina)
    San Juan is a province of Argentina, located in the western part of the country. Neighbouring provinces are, moving clockwise from the north, La Rioja, San Luis and Mendoza. It borders with Chile at the west....

    , Argentina
    Argentina
    Argentina , officially the Argentine Republic , is the second largest country in South America by land area, after Brazil. It is constituted as a federation of 23 provinces and an autonomous city, Buenos Aires...

     and Atacama, Chile
    Chile
    Chile ,officially the Republic of Chile , is a country in South America occupying a long, narrow coastal strip between the Andes mountains to the east and the Pacific Ocean to the west. It borders Peru to the north, Bolivia to the northeast, Argentina to the east, and the Drake Passage in the far...

     (in project).

Australia

  • Super Pit
    Super Pit gold mine
    The Fimiston Open Pit, colloquially known as the Super Pit, is Australia's largest open cut gold mine. The Super Pit is located off the Goldfields Highway on the south-east edge of Kalgoorlie-Boulder, Western Australia. The pit is oblong in shape and is approximately 3.5 kilometres long, 1.5...

     – gold mine near Kalgoorlie, Western Australia
    Kalgoorlie, Western Australia
    Kalgoorlie, known as Kalgoorlie-Boulder, is a town in the Goldfields-Esperance region of Western Australia, and is located east-northeast of state capital Perth at the end of the Great Eastern Highway...

    .
  • Cadia mine
    Cadia mine
    Cadia Mine is a large open cut gold and copper mine located about 20 kilometres south of the regional city of Orange, New South Wales, Australia. The mine has been developed throughout the 1990s and is a major employer in the region with an expected lifespan of several decades. Cadia is the second...

     – gold and copper mine located near Orange, New South Wales
    Orange, New South Wales
    Orange is a city in the Central West region of New South Wales, Australia. It is west of the state capital, Sydney, at an altitude of . Orange has an estimated population of 39,329 and the city is a major provincial centre....

    .
  • Boddington Gold Mine
    Boddington Gold Mine
    The Boddington Gold Mine is a gold and copper mine located 17 km northwest of Boddington, Western Australia.Officially reopened on 3 February 2010, the mine is expected to become Australia's largest gold mine once it reaches full production.-History:...

     – Boddington, Western Australia
    Boddington, Western Australia
    Boddington is a town and shire in the Peel region of Western Australia, located south-east of Perth. The town sits on the road from Pinjarra to Williams on the Hotham River...

    .
  • Telfer Mine
    Telfer Mine
    The Telfer Mine is a copper and gold mine located at Telfer, in the Great Sandy Desert of Western Australia. It is owned by Newcrest Mining, Australia's largest gold producer....

     – Gold and copper mine in Pilbara, Western Australia
    Western Australia
    Western Australia is a state of Australia, occupying the entire western third of the Australian continent. It is bounded by the Indian Ocean to the north and west, the Great Australian Bight and Indian Ocean to the south, the Northern Territory to the north-east and South Australia to the south-east...

  • Ranger Mine
    Ranger Uranium Mine
    The Ranger uranium mine is surrounded by Kakadu National Park, in the Northern Territory of Australia, 230 km east of Darwin. The orebody was discovered in 1969, and the mine commenced operation in 1980, reaching full production of uranium oxide in 1981...

     – Uranium mine east of Darwin
    Darwin, Northern Territory
    Darwin is the capital city of the Northern Territory, Australia. Situated on the Timor Sea, Darwin has a population of 127,500, making it by far the largest and most populated city in the sparsely populated Northern Territory, but the least populous of all Australia's capital cities...

     in the Northern Territory, Weipa, Queensland
    Weipa, Queensland
    Weipa is the largest town on the Gulf of Carpentaria coast of the Cape York Peninsula in Queensland, Australia. At the 2006 census, Weipa had a population of 2,830; the largest community on Cape York Peninsula. It exists because of the enormous bauxite deposits along the coast...


Bulgaria

  • Maritsa Iztok Mines – coal mine near Radnevo
    Radnevo
    Radnevo is a town in southern Bulgaria, part of Stara Zagora Province, located in the eastern Upper Thracian Lowlands close to the Maritsa Iztok Complex. It is the administrative centre of the homonymous Radnevo Municipality...

    , Stara Zagora Province
    Stara Zagora Province
    Stara Zagora is a province of south central Bulgaria. It is named after its administrative and industrial centre—the city of Stara Zagora—the sixth-biggest town in the country...

    , Bulgaria
    Bulgaria
    Bulgaria , officially the Republic of Bulgaria , is a parliamentary democracy within a unitary constitutional republic in Southeast Europe. The country borders Romania to the north, Serbia and Macedonia to the west, Greece and Turkey to the south, as well as the Black Sea to the east...

    .

Canada

  • Adams Mine
    Adams Mine
    Adams Mine is an abandoned open pit iron ore mine located in the Boston Township of the District of Timiskaming, south of Kirkland Lake in the Canadian province of Ontario. It is situated on the Canadian Shield....

     – abandoned mine in Kirkland Lake, Ontario
    Ontario
    Ontario is a province of Canada, located in east-central Canada. It is Canada's most populous province and second largest in total area. It is home to the nation's most populous city, Toronto, and the nation's capital, Ottawa....

    .
  • Sherman Mine
    Sherman Mine
    Sherman Mine is a large abandoned open pit mine in Temagami, Ontario, Canada. It was a major producer of iron ore. The mine was the source of a multi-ton boulder of banded iron formation and was mined from 1967 until 1990 by Cleveland-Cliffs Iron Company...

     – abandoned iron mine in Temagami, Ontario
    Ontario
    Ontario is a province of Canada, located in east-central Canada. It is Canada's most populous province and second largest in total area. It is home to the nation's most populous city, Toronto, and the nation's capital, Ottawa....

    .
  • Colomac Mine
    Colomac Mine
    The Colomac Mine was an open pit gold mine in the Northwest Territories that operated between 1990–1992, and 1994-1997. It was operated by Peggy Witte, whose first company Neptune Resources Limited had little success in making a profitable operation. In 1994 the mine reopened by her other company,...

     – gold mine in Northwest Territories
    Northwest Territories
    The Northwest Territories is a federal territory of Canada.Located in northern Canada, the territory borders Canada's two other territories, Yukon to the west and Nunavut to the east, and three provinces: British Columbia to the southwest, and Alberta and Saskatchewan to the south...

    .
  • Diavik Diamond Mine
    Diavik Diamond Mine
    The Diavik Diamond Mine is a diamond mine in the North Slave Region of the Northwest Territories, Canada, about north of Yellowknife.It has become an important part of the regional economy, employing 700, grossing C$100 million in sales, and producing 8 million carats of diamonds annually...

     – diamond mine
    Diamond Mine
    Diamond Mine is the second album by Blue Rodeo, released in 1989. It includes several instrumental interludes by Bob Wiseman between songs.-Track listing:All songs by Greg Keelor and Jim Cuddy.#"Swells"#"God and Country" – 3:32#"How Long" – 3:59...

     in Northwest Territories
    Northwest Territories
    The Northwest Territories is a federal territory of Canada.Located in northern Canada, the territory borders Canada's two other territories, Yukon to the west and Nunavut to the east, and three provinces: British Columbia to the southwest, and Alberta and Saskatchewan to the south...

    .
  • Ekati Diamond Mine
    Ekati Diamond Mine
    The EKATI Diamond Mine is Canada's first surface and underground diamond mine. It is located north-east of Yellowknife, Northwest Territories, and about south of the Arctic circle, near Lac de Gras. EKATI is a joint venture between BHP Billiton Canada Inc...

     – diamond mine in Northwest Territories
    Northwest Territories
    The Northwest Territories is a federal territory of Canada.Located in northern Canada, the territory borders Canada's two other territories, Yukon to the west and Nunavut to the east, and three provinces: British Columbia to the southwest, and Alberta and Saskatchewan to the south...

    .
  • Pine Point Mine
    Pine Point Mine
    The Pine Point Mine is located west of Fort Resolution, Northwest Territories and east of Hay River, Northwest Territories, on the south shore of Great Slave Lake, Northwest Territories. Pine Point was a Mississippi Valley type deposit. It produced lead and zinc ores from 1964 to 1988...

     – lead and zinc mine in Northwest Territories
    Northwest Territories
    The Northwest Territories is a federal territory of Canada.Located in northern Canada, the territory borders Canada's two other territories, Yukon to the west and Nunavut to the east, and three provinces: British Columbia to the southwest, and Alberta and Saskatchewan to the south...

    .

Chile

  • Chuquicamata
    Chuquicamata
    Chuquicamata, or "Chuqui" as it is more familiarly known, is by digged volume the biggest open pit copper mine in the world, located in the north of Chile, 215 km northeast of Antofagasta and 1,240 km north of the capital, Santiago...

     – copper mine.
  • Escondida
    Escondida
    Minera Escondida, which means 'hidden' in Spanish, is a mining company that operates two open pit copper mines in the Atacama Desert, 170 km southeast of Antofagasta in northern Chile. It is currently the highest producing copper mine in the world...

     – copper mine.
  • Pascua Lama
    Pascua Lama
    Pascua-Lama is an open pit mining project of gold, silver, copper and other minerals. Pascua Lama is located in the Andes mountains, south of Atacama, straddling the border between Chile and Argentina at an altitude of over 4,500 metres. Toronto-based Barrick Gold, the world's largest gold mining...

     – binational gold and silver mine in San Juan
    San Juan Province (Argentina)
    San Juan is a province of Argentina, located in the western part of the country. Neighbouring provinces are, moving clockwise from the north, La Rioja, San Luis and Mendoza. It borders with Chile at the west....

    , Argentina
    Argentina
    Argentina , officially the Argentine Republic , is the second largest country in South America by land area, after Brazil. It is constituted as a federation of 23 provinces and an autonomous city, Buenos Aires...

     and Atacama, Chile
    Chile
    Chile ,officially the Republic of Chile , is a country in South America occupying a long, narrow coastal strip between the Andes mountains to the east and the Pacific Ocean to the west. It borders Peru to the north, Bolivia to the northeast, Argentina to the east, and the Drake Passage in the far...

     (in project).
  • Radomiro Tomic
    Radomiro Tomic (mine)
    The Radomiro Tomić mine is open pit mine that extracts oxide minerals at above sea level in the Andes mountains near to Chuquicamata mine and Calama in northern Chile's Antofagasta Region....

     – copper mine.

Germany

  • Tagebau Garzweiler
    Tagebau Garzweiler
    The Tagebau Garzweiler is a large strip mine in North-Rhine Westphalia, Germany. It is operated by RWE and used for mining lignite...

     – lignite
    Lignite
    Lignite, often referred to as brown coal, or Rosebud coal by Northern Pacific Railroad,is a soft brown fuel with characteristics that put it somewhere between coal and peat...

     mine.
  • Tagebau Hambach
    Tagebau Hambach
    The Tagebau Hambach is a large strip mine in Niederzier and Elsdorf, North-Rhine Westphalia, Germany. It is operated by RWE and used for mining lignite. Begun in 1978, the mine currently has a size of 33.89 km² and is planned to eventually have a size of 85 km². It is the deepest open pit mine...

     – lignite mine.

Indonesia

  • Batu Hijau mine
    Batu Hijau mine
    The Batu Hijau mine is an open pit copper-gold mine operated by Newmont Mining Corporation's subsidiary company PT Newmont Nusa Tenggara . The mine is located east of the Indonesian capital Jakarta on Sumbawa, in southern Taliwang Regency, an island in West Nusa Tenggara...

     – copper and gold mine on the island of Sumbawa
    Sumbawa
    Sumbawa is an Indonesian island, located in the middle of the Lesser Sunda Islands chain, with Lombok to the west, Flores to the east, and Sumba further to the southeast. It is in the province of West Nusa Tenggara....

    .
  • Grasberg mine
    Grasberg mine
    The Grasberg Mine is the largest gold mine and the third largest copper mine in the world. It is located in the province of Papua in Indonesia near Puncak Jaya, the highest mountain in Papua, and it has 19,500 employees...

     – located in the mountains of the Papua province
    Papua (Indonesian province)
    Papua comprises most of the western half of the island of New Guinea and nearby islands. Its capital is Jayapura. It's the largest and easternmost province of Indonesia. The province originally covered the entire western half of New Guinea...

    .

Kyrgyzstan

  • Kumtor Gold Mine
    Kumtor Gold Mine
    Kumtor Gold Mine is an open-pit gold mining site in Issyk Kul Province of Kyrgyzstan located about 350 km southeast of the capital Bishkek and 80 km south of Lake Issyk-Kul near the border with China....

     – gold mine in Tian Shan Mountains at 4,000-4,400 m (14,000 ft) above sea level.

Mongolia

  • Boroo Gold Mine
    Boroo Gold Mine
    Boroo Gold Mine is an open-pit gold mining site in Mongolia located about 110 km WNW of the capital Ulaanbaatar in Bayangol and Mandal sums of Selenge Province in northern Mongolia. Gatsuurt Gold Mine is 35 E from Boroo Gold Mine....

     – gold mine 110 km (70 mi) WNW of the capital Ulan Bator.

Namibia

  • Rossing
    Rossing
    The Rössing Uranium Mine in Namibia is one of the largest open pit uranium mines in the world and is located in the Namib Desert near the town of Arandis, which is 70 kilometres from the coastal town of Swakopmund. Namibia’s only deepwater harbour, Walvis Bay, is 30 kilometres south of Swakopmund...

     – uranium mine.

Romania

  • Berbeşti Coal Mine
    Berbesti Coal Mine
    Berbeşti Coal Mine is an open-pit mining exploitation, one of the largest in Romania located in Berbeşti, Vâlcea County. The legal entity managing the Berbeşti mine is the National Company of Lignite Oltenia which was set up in 1997....

     – coal mine.
  • Motru Coal Mine
    Motru Coal Mine
    Motru Coal Mine is an open-pit mining exploitation, one of the largest in Romania located in Motru, Gorj County. The legal entity managing the Motru mine is the National Company of Lignite Oltenia which was set up in 1997....

     – coal mine.
  • Rovinari Coal Mine
    Rovinari Coal Mine
    Rovinari Coal Mine is an open-pit mining exploitation, the largest in Romania, located in Rovinari, Gorj County. The legal entity managing the Rovinari mine is the National Company of Lignite Oltenia which was set up in 1997....

     – coal mine.

Russia

  • Mirny Mine − diamond mine in Mirny
    Mirny
    Mirny , lit. peaceful can refer to:*Mirny, Arkhangelsk Oblast, a town in Arkhangelsk Oblast, Russia*Mirny, Sakha Republic, a town in the Sakha Republic, Russia*Mirny, Bryansk Oblast, an urban-type settlement in Bryansk Oblast, Russia...

    , Eastern Siberia
    Siberia
    Siberia is an extensive region constituting almost all of Northern Asia. Comprising the central and eastern portion of the Russian Federation, it was part of the Soviet Union from its beginning, as its predecessor states, the Tsardom of Russia and the Russian Empire, conquered it during the 16th...

  • Udachnaya pipe
    Udachnaya pipe
    Udachnaya pipe is a diamond deposit in the Daldyn-Alakit kimberlite field in Sakha Republic, Russia. It is an open-pit mine, and is located just outside the Arctic circle at . Udachnaya was discovered on June 15, 1955, just two days after the discovery of the diamond pipe Mir by Soviet...

     − diamond mine in Yakutia, Russia
    Russia
    Russia or , officially known as both Russia and the Russian Federation , is a country in northern Eurasia. It is a federal semi-presidential republic, comprising 83 federal subjects...

    .

South Africa

  • The Big Hole
    Big Hole
    The Big Hole, Open Mine or Kimberley Mine is an open-pit and underground mine in Kimberley, South Africa, and claimed to be the largest hole excavated by hand.-History:...

    , a former diamond mine in Kimberley, dug to 240 m (790 ft) between 1871 and 1914, making it the deepest hand-excavated pit in the world. Now a museum.
  • The Jagersfontein Mine
    Jagersfontein Mine
    Jagersfontein Mine is an abandoned open-pit mine in South Africa located close to the town of Jagersfontein and approximately south-west of Bloemfontein. Since it was first established in 1888, two of the ten biggest diamonds ever discovered, the Excelsior and the Reitz , were mined from...

    , operating between 1888 and 1971. This was hand-excavated to 201 m (660 ft) by 1911, and the hand-dug pit was sightly larger than the Big Hole.

Spain

  • Corta Atalaya
    Corta Atalaya
    Corta Atalaya is the largest open-pit mine in Europe and was at one time the largest in the world. It is located within the city limits of Minas de Riotinto in the province of Huelva, autonomous community of Andalusia, Spain. It is roughly elliptical in shape, long, wide, and deep. It was one of...

     is the largest open-pit mine in Europe and was at one time the largest in the world.
  • Sierra Menera
    Sierra Menera
    Sierra Menera is a long mountain range in the southwestern end of the Iberian System. Its highest point is the 1,601 m high summit known as Monte de San Ginés; another important peak is the 1591 m high Mojón Alto....

    , Sistema Ibérico
    Sistema Ibérico
    The Sistema Ibérico or Iberian System is one of the main systems of mountain ranges in Spain.It is a vast and complex system of mountain chains and massifs located in the central regions of the Iberian Peninsula, but reaching almost the Mediterranean coast in the Land of Valencia in the east.From...


Sweden

  • Aitik-gruvan
    Aitik
    The Aitik copper mine is owned by Boliden AB and situated outside the town of Gällivare in northern Sweden. It is one of Europe's largest open pit copper mines. Associated with the copper, large quantities of gold, silver and since 2008 molybdenum have been mined at Aitik.The mine was put into...

     in Gällivare
    Gällivare
    Gällivare is a locality and the seat of Gällivare Municipality in Norrbotten County, Sweden with 8,480 inhabitants in 2005. The town was founded in the 17th century...

    , copper mine with side production of gold and molybdenum.

United States

  • Berkeley Pit
    Berkeley Pit
    The Berkeley Pit is a former open pit copper mine located in Butte, Montana, United States. It is one mile long by half a mile wide with an approximate depth of . It is filled to a depth of about with water that is heavily acidic , about the acidity of cola or lemon juice...

     - former copper mine in Butte
    Butte, Montana
    Butte is a city in Montana and the county seat of Silver Bow County, United States. In 1977, the city and county governments consolidated to form the sole entity of Butte-Silver Bow. As of the 2010 census, Butte's population was 34,200...

    , Montana
    Montana
    Montana is a state in the Western United States. The western third of Montana contains numerous mountain ranges. Smaller, "island ranges" are found in the central third of the state, for a total of 77 named ranges of the Rocky Mountains. This geographical fact is reflected in the state's name,...

    ; now a toxic lake and tourist attraction.
  • El Chino Mine
    El Chino Mine
    The Chino Mine , also known as the Santa Rita mine, is an open-pit copper mine located in the town of Santa Rita, New Mexico east of Silver City. The mine was started as the Chino Copper Company in 1909 by mining engineer John M. Sully, and is currently owned and operated by Freeport-McMoRan...

     – copper mine in Grant County
    Grant County, New Mexico
    -2010:Whereas according to the 2010 U.S. Census Bureau:*84.9% White*0.9% Black*1.4% Native American*0.4% Asian*0.1% Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander*2.8% Two or more races*9.8% Other races*48.3% Hispanic or Latino -2000:...

    , New Mexico
    New Mexico
    New Mexico is a state located in the southwest and western regions of the United States. New Mexico is also usually considered one of the Mountain States. With a population density of 16 per square mile, New Mexico is the sixth-most sparsely inhabited U.S...

    .
  • Hull-Rust-Mahoning Mine – largest open pit iron mine in the world near Hibbing, Minnesota
    Hibbing, Minnesota
    Hibbing is a city in Saint Louis County, Minnesota, United States. The population was 16,361 at the 2010 census. The city was built on the rich iron ore of the Mesabi Iron Range. At the edge of town is the largest open-pit iron mine in the world. U.S...

    .
  • Bingham Canyon Mine
    Bingham Canyon Mine
    The Bingham Canyon Mine, also known as the Kennecott Copper Mine, is an open-pit mining operation extracting a large porphyry copper deposit southwest of Salt Lake City, Utah, USA, in the Oquirrh Mountains. It is the deepest open-pit mine in the world. The mine is owned by Rio Tinto Group, an...

     – copper mine in Salt Lake County
    Salt Lake County, Utah
    Salt Lake County is a county located in the U.S. state of Utah. It had a population of 1,029,655 at the 2010 census. Its county seat and largest city is Salt Lake City, the state capital. It occupies Salt Lake Valley, as well as parts of the surrounding mountains, the Oquirrh Mountains to the west...

    , Utah
    Utah
    Utah is a state in the Western United States. It was the 45th state to join the Union, on January 4, 1896. Approximately 80% of Utah's 2,763,885 people live along the Wasatch Front, centering on Salt Lake City. This leaves vast expanses of the state nearly uninhabited, making the population the...

    .
  • Lavender Pit
    Lavender Pit
    The Lavender Pit is a former open pit copper mine near Bisbee in Cochise County, Arizona, United States. It is located near the famous Copper Queen Mine. The Lavender Pit was named in honor ofHarrison M...

     – copper mine in Cochise County
    Cochise County, Arizona
    -2010:Whereas according to the 2010 U.S. Census Bureau:*78.5% White*4.2% Black*1.2% Native American*1.9% Asian*0.3% Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander*4.0% Two or more races*9.6% Other races*32.4% Hispanic or Latino -2000:...

    , Arizona
    Arizona
    Arizona ; is a state located in the southwestern region of the United States. It is also part of the western United States and the mountain west. The capital and largest city is Phoenix...

    .
  • Cresson Mine – a gold mine in Victor, Colorado
    Victor, Colorado
    Victor is a Statutory City in Teller County, Colorado, United States. The population was 445 at the 2000 census.Victor is in the heart of Colorado's gold country, home to two of the major gold mines in the Cripple Creek mining district...

    .
  • Red Dog mine
    Red Dog mine
    The Red Dog mine is a zinc and lead mine located in a remote region of the Arctic, within the boundaries of the Red Dog Mine census-designated place in the Northwest Arctic Borough of the U.S. state of Alaska....

     – a zinc and lead mine in Red Dog Mine, Alaska
    Red Dog Mine, Alaska
    Red Dog Mine is a census-designated place in the Northwest Arctic Borough of the U.S. state of Alaska. The population was 32 at the 2000 census.-Economy:...

    .

Zambia

  • Nchanga Open Pit Mine
    Nchanga Mines
    The Nchanga mines are a group of copper mineing operations near the municipal town of Chingola in Zambia.- Nchanga Open Pit Mine :The Open Pits at Nchanga Mine are situated in a crescent shaped structure 11 km long around the municipal town of Chingola in Zambia. Covering nearly 30 km² it...

    , Chingola
    Chingola
    Chingola is a city in Zambia's Copperbelt Province, the country's copper-mining region, with a population of 157,340 . It is the home of Nchanga Copper Mine, a deep-shaft high-grade content copper mining operation, which subsequently led to the development of two open pit operations, Chingola...

    . The second largest open cast mine in the world, covering nearly 30 km² and up to 400m deep.

See also

  • Bagger 288
    Bagger 288
    Bagger 288 , built by the German company Krupp for the energy and mining firm Rheinbraun, is a bucket-wheel excavator or mobile strip mining machine...

    , an enormous piece of pit-mining equipment
  • Cut-and-cover
  • Cut (earthmoving)
    Cut (earthmoving)
    In civil engineering, a cut or cutting is where soil or rock material from a hill or mountain is cut out to make way for a canal, road or railway line....

  • Trench

External links

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