With the ever rising demand for the minerals and metals, the need for surface mining is increasing and has lead to a direct positive effect on the surface mining market. According to EIA the world coal consumption is increasing at the rate of 1.3% per year, which is extracted mostly from the surface and the underground activities. As per the report of Hartman and Mutmansky (2002), in USA the surface mining contributes about 85% of all mineral exploitation (metallic ore 98%, non metallic ore 97% and coal 61%). Beside coal, the demand for other minerals and metals such as gold, chromium, nickel and iron ore is also rising, hence we can think of the overall positive impact on the surface mining market.
The surface mining market can be segmented on the basis of methodology, minerals extracted, and the geographical locations of the surface mining regions and companies. According to the technology involved, the surface mining can be classified as strip mining, mountain removal mining and open pit mining. Strip mining is applied when the mineral deposits and the surface of the ground are near to each other. Mountain removal mining is a kind of surface mining that involves the mining of the summit ridge of a mountain. Open cast or the open pit mining is the method of removal of ores and minerals from a pit. Open cast mines that produce dimension stones and the building materials are called quarries. According to the mineral extracted mining can be divided as the metallic ore mining, non metallic ore mining and the coal mining. Metallic ore mining involves extraction of zinc, gold, silver, copper, lead and others. Non metallic ore mining involves extraction of lime, salt, phosphates and others.
Regional segmentation can be done on the basis of the location of surface mining companies and the major mining regions of the world. Major surface mining companies are located in the United States and Canada (North America), United Kingdom, Germany, France, Russia and Denmark (European region), China, India, Australia and Indonesia (Asia Pacific region), South Africa and Nigeria (Middle East and Africa) and Brazil in RoW (rest of World). The U.S nonmetallic mineral and quarrying industry includes around 3300 companies. Major regions where surface mining is done are the United States, Canada, Mexico, South Africa Kazakhstan, Peru, Ukraine, India, China, Indonesia, Angola, Chile, Brazil and Australia. According to a media release about 75% of the world gold mining companies are headquartered in Canada.
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Increasing demands for metallic and non metallic minerals, abundance of reserves that can be exploited using surface mining, less capital requirement as compared to underground and marine mining and increasing energy consumption are the factors that are driving the surface mining market. Stringent environmental regulations and difficulties related to land acquisition can act as the restraint in the surface mining market. With the advancements in mining technologies, growing concerns among countries regarding energy security and increasing energy demand, the opportunities for the surface mining market are expected to be high.
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