The action of removing valuable materials from the earth is mining in its simple form. Materials such iron, coal, limestone, rock salt, precious metals, and uranium are all examples of materials that are mined in North America.
There were ancient copper mine that were along Lake Superior. It is believed that first mining was done by American Indians about 5000 years ago. Obsidian Flint and other materials were brought from the earth and traded. Early French explorers were able to trade and obtain materials that were mined by Indians successfully.
Advanced mining began to be done in the United States in the 19th century, and one type of mining was experienced by the Gold Rush in the early and mid 1800’s. Mining for minerals and precious metals began to drive a lot of the western expansion to the Pacific ocean.
Gold Rush Fever eventually waned but at its height it helped bring a lot of settlers to the western part of the United States.
Mining began to evolve, into surface mining and sub surface mining. Mining targets and established mines of both types began to be established around the United States, and it began to consist of bringing valuable materials from within beach sands, river gravels and lode deposits deep underground.
Lode deposits are mined from both surface deposit mining and sub surface underground methods. As these materials are mined, they are separated and the methods of separation tended to be gravity separation means such as sluice boxes. Using these separation methods, they would separate the desired Ore or materials from the other rock, which would be discarded.
Surface mining is not as common but it also still is used in North America. Open pit mining is one type of surface mining, and a rock Quarry is another type of open reclamation.