SPUTNIK / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY SPUTNIK / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Open cast coal mine. View of a coal mine in Neryungri, Sakha, Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS). Sakha, a Central Asian republic of the former Soviet Union, has 4.4 billion tons of explored coal reserves. Two thirds of this lies in the Neryungri coal field. Open cast mining is used when the overburden, surface material covering the coal, is thin. Rather than using tunnels, the whole area is excavated using heavy machinery such as dragline excavators.
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