ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION, AND OVERBURDEN STRIPPING
Following State approval, the landowner
removes any merchantable trees from the mining site. Erosion and
sediment control structures are built. These usually take
the form of berms, sediment fences and impoundments for collecting
run-off water and sediments. When these structures are in place,
stripping of earth or overburden can begin according to the mining
plan. Mining cuts are usually 2-5 acres in size.
MINING AND RECLAMATION
normally progress in sequential cuts, with the overburden being
placed into the previous mined-out cut. This "back-filling" method
is repeated until mining is complete. This method leads to early
reclamation of the land. However, the entire mine can only be reclaimed
when the last cut is mined. Some kaolin deposits are marginal in
quality and must be blended with other deposits to be used.
As a result,
some mines will remain open or active for many years before the
kaolin is exhausted. During this time, erosion and sediment control
devices are maintained to assure that run-off water and sediments
are contained on the permitted site.