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What is open cast mining?

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Quick Answer

Open cast mining is a type of surface mining in which mineral resources are removed from the earth through large holes or pits dug into the surface. The term "open cast mining" is used most commonly in Great Britain.

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Full Answer

In the United States, open cast mining is usually called open-pit or open-cut mining. According to the Berkeley Laboratory for Automation Science and Engineering, open cast mines are designed before a mining operation begins. Engineers divide the area to be mined into large cubes, which are excavated one at a time until the entire mining project is completed. The blocks are mined in a predetermined order to maximize profits and minimize environmental impacts.

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