Present day mining operations effectively strive to moderate potential environmental consequences of extracting metals, and such operations are carefully directed in the United States. The way to successful mitigation lies in using scientific and technological advances that anticipate or control undesired environmental effects. However, there are many serious consequences that metal mining cause and the most popular effect is physical disturbances to the landscape.
The biggest physical disturbances at a mine site are the real mine activities, for example, open pits and the related waste rock disposal zones. Mining facilities, for example, workplaces, shops, and plants, which involve a little piece of the irritated region, are generally rescued or crushed when the mine is shut. The open pits and waste rock disposal zones are the principle visual and aesthetic effects of mining. Underground mining by and large brings about moderately little waste rock disposal zones extending from a few of acres in size to ten of acres (0.1 km2). These regions are commonly situated close to the openings of the underground operations. Open pit mining interrupts bigger zones than underground mining, and consequently has bigger visual and physical effects. As the measure of waste rock in open pit mines is ordinarily two or three times the measure of ore generated, huge volumes of waste rock are expelled from the pits and kept in regions nearby.
Waste piles from processing, for example, tailings impoundments, leach piles, and slag piles fluctuate in size, yet can be enormous. The impoundments involved in certain of the biggest mills, for example, at open pit copper mines, can cover thousands of acres (ten of km2) and be a few hundred feet (around 100 m) thick. Heap leach piles can cover tens to hundreds of acres (0.1 to 1 km2) and be a couple of hundred feet (around 100 m) high. They are similar to waste rock piles in area and size, yet are all the more exactly designed. Slag is a glassy by-product of melting; slag piles can cover tens to hundreds of acres (0.1 to 1 km2) and be more than 100 hundred feet (30 m) high.
These effects exist on the scene until the disturbed regions are balanced out and recovered for different uses, for example, wildlife living space or entertainment zones, after mining has stopped.