Minerals are present in almost everything that makes up our environment. Computers, buildings, eatables and transportation vehicles are all made from materials derived from minerals. There are expensive materials like gold and platinum that have huge value in the international market. Moreover, some radioactive materials like uranium and radium can be extracted from earth in order to produce nuclear weapons or produce electricity. Therefore, the supply and demand of these minerals can have huge impact on the economic sustainability of the society (NAS 2007, p1-3).
Metallic minerals can be melted by applying heat in order to produce other products like Iron and copper which can be melted to make cars and building structures. However, non-metallic does not give any new product upon melting like coal burnt to produce electricity and marble used to decorate walls.
Mining is used to extract the minerals from the earth. The mining facility is set up after conducting a feasibility study of the area. Digging, blasting and refining techniques are employed to extract the minerals.
Mountain top process - blasting techniques are used to expose the layer of earth containing the mineral
Open pit process- Pits are dug in the earth surface and explosives are usually placed in these holes to get rid of large rocks to extract the minerals.
Strip mining process- earth is removed from the surface by using heavy machinery. It is used when minerals are close to the surface of the earth.
Using explosives increased the levels of toxic minerals like phosphorous and sulfur in the air. Mining affects the natural habit of animals and increases erosion. The increase in the poisonous elements in the air can result in lung and cardiac diseases among the people who live in that area. Moreover, providing a safe working environment for the people who are involved in the extraction of these minerals is also a serious challenge.
Soil is composed of a number of materials ranging from rocks that have weathered over time to fossils of plants and animals. Soil usually forms a thin layer over the earth crust and contains a number of minerals that are needed for plants and animals for their nourishment.
Plants have their roots in the soil along with a number of insects that make holes in soil to survive the harsh climatic conditions. Furthermore, soil exists in the ocean beds as ...