JERRY MASON / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY JERRY MASON / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Clay mine. Open cast mine for the extraction of china clay (kaolin). The clay is used to make pottery, as a filtering aid for oil processing and in coatings for paper. China clay is formed by the chemical decomposition of feldspars (aluminium silicates) in solid rocks (especially granite) by heated, underground water. China clay received its name because it was first used in fine porcelain in Kiangsi province, China. Open cast mining is used when extensive mineral deposits lie near the surface of the Earth. This kind of excavation is environmentally unsound because it involves the destruction of vast areas of surface vegetation.
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