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Once all the minerals or coal have been extracted, the mine projects and its surrounding environment must be restored to the condition that existed before mining began. In surface mining, the layers of topsoil, or overburden, that were removed in order to reach the mineral are used to fill in the mine and reshape the land. This ensures that native plants and animals will be able to thrive once again. Underground mining does not require as extensive a reclamation process; however, mine operators and environmental engineers still must ensure that ground water remains uncontaminated and that abandoned mines will not collapse.

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