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QOTD: Twenty years ago, Balzania put in place

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QOTD: Twenty years ago, Balzania put in place [#permalink]

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Verbal Question of The Day: Day 104: Critical Reasoning


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Twenty years ago, Balzania put in place regulations requiring operators of surface mines to pay for the reclamation of mined-out land. Since then, reclamation technology has not improved. Yet, the average reclamation cost for a surface coal mine being reclaimed today is only four dollars per ton of coal that the mine produced, less than half what it cost to reclaim surface mines in the years immediately after the regulations took effect.

Which of the following, if true, most helps to account for the drop in reclamation costs described?

(A) Even after Balzania began requiring surface mine operators to pay reclamation costs, coal mines in Balzania continued to be less expensive to operate than coal mines in almost any other country.

(B) In the twenty years since the regulations took effect, the use of coal as a fuel has declined from the level it was at in the previous twenty years.

(C) Mine operators have generally ceased surface mining in the mountainous areas of Balzania because reclamation costs per ton of coal produced are particularly high for mines in such areas.

(D) Even after Balzania began requiring surface mine operators to pay reclamation costs, surface mines continued to produce coal at a lower total cost than underground mines.

(E) As compared to twenty years ago, a greater percentage of the coal mined in Balzania today comes from surface mines.

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Re: QOTD: Twenty years ago, Balzania put in place [#permalink]

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We are told that operators of surface mines have had to pay for the reclamation of mined-out land for the past twenty years. During that time, reclamation technology has not improved. Yet, the average reclamation cost for a surface coal mine being reclaimed today is significantly less than what it was twenty years ago.

So why has the average reclamation cost decreased even though the technology has not improved?

Quote:
A. Even after Balzania began requiring surface mine operators to pay reclamation costs, coal mines in Balzania continued to be less expensive to operate than coal mines in almost any other country.

We are not concerned with how the reclamation costs in Balzania compare to those in other countries. We are trying to explain why the average reclamation cost IN BALZANIA has decreased even though the technology has not improved. Eliminate (A).

Quote:
B. In the twenty years since the regulations took effect, the use of coal as a fuel has declined from the level it was at in the previous twenty years.

A decline in the use of coal might have caused a decrease in surface coal mining and thus an OVERALL decrease in reclamation costs, but that would not affect AVERAGE reclamation cost. Eliminate (B).

Quote:
C. Mine operators have generally ceased surface mining in the mountainous areas of Balzania because reclamation costs per ton of coal produced are particularly high for mines in such areas.

Before the regulations, operators did not have to pay for the reclamation of mined-out land, so they would have had no incentive to consider those costs when choosing mining sites. However, since the passing of the regulations, the operators HAVE had incentive to consider reclamation costs when choosing mining sites. As a result, the operators might have started to avoid mining in areas that would incur high reclamation costs (i.e. mountainous areas), thus reducing average reclamation cost. Choice (C) would help to explain why average reclamation cost has decreased even though the technology has not improved, so keep (C).

Quote:
D. Even after Balzania began requiring surface mine operators to pay reclamation costs, surface mines continued to produce coal at a lower total cost than underground mines.

We need a statement that explains why the average reclamation cost for a SURFACE coal mine has decreased. How those costs compare to those of underground mines is irrelevant, so (D) can be eliminated.

Quote:
E. As compared to twenty years ago, a greater percentage of the coal mined in Balzania today comes from surface mines.

Increasing the amount of coal from surface mines might increase the TOTAL reclamation costs from those sites, but, as with choice (B), this would not explain why the AVERAGE reclamation cost has changed. Choice (E) might explain why the operators of such mines are making more money, but it does not explain the change in reclamation costs. Eliminate (E).

Choice (C) is the best answer.
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Re: QOTD: Twenty years ago, Balzania put in place [#permalink]

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New post 14 Sep 2017, 12:53
This is a tough one. Awaiting OA.

Premise 1: Twenty years ago, Balzania put in place regulations requiring operators of surface mines to pay for the reclamation of mined-out land.
Premise 2:Since then, reclamation technology has not improved.

Conclusion: Yet, the average reclamation cost for a surface coal mine being reclaimed today is only four dollars per ton of coal that the mine produced, less than half what it cost to reclaim surface mines in the years immediately after the regulations took effect.

Which of the following, if true, most helps to account for the drop in reclamation costs described?

A. Even after Balzania began requiring surface mine operators to pay reclamation costs, coal mines in Balzania continued to be less expensive to operate than coal mines in almost any other country. -We are not worried about the other countries' condition.
B. In the twenty years since the regulations took effect, the use of coal as a fuel has declined from the level it was at in the previous twenty years. -Correct. If the demand reduces, then the supply also follows the same trend. Thus, the production of coal reduces thereby reducing the reclamation cost.
C. Mine operators have generally ceased surface mining in the mountainous areas of Balzania because reclamation costs per ton of coal produced are particularly high for mines in such areas. -Okay. This is a fact set. A person might give up on the land or not.
D. Even after Balzania began requiring surface mine operators to pay reclamation costs, surface mines continued to produce coal at a lower total cost than underground mines. -Out of scope
E. As compared to twenty years ago, a greater percentage of the coal mined in Balzania today comes from surface mines. -Out of scope. Doesn't talk about the cost involved.
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Re: QOTD: Twenty years ago, Balzania put in place [#permalink]

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New post 14 Sep 2017, 15:25
C, it's important to note that we are given the average cost of reclamation. It's very expensive to reclaim in the mountainous areas, so once we drop those areas out of the equation, the average price goes down.

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Re: QOTD: Twenty years ago, Balzania put in place [#permalink]

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Verbal Question of The Day: Day 104: Critical Reasoning


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Twenty years ago, Balzania put in place regulations requiring operators of surface mines to pay for the reclamation of mined-out land. Since then, reclamation technology has not improved. Yet, the average reclamation cost for a surface coal mine being reclaimed today is only four dollars per ton of coal that the mine produced, less than half what it cost to reclaim surface mines in the years immediately after the regulations took effect.

Which of the following, if true, most helps to account for the drop in reclamation costs described?

A. Even after Balzania began requiring surface mine operators to pay reclamation costs, coal mines in Balzania continued to be less expensive to operate than coal mines in almost any other country.
B. In the twenty years since the regulations took effect, the use of coal as a fuel has declined from the level it was at in the previous twenty years.
C. Mine operators have generally ceased surface mining in the mountainous areas of Balzania because reclamation costs per ton of coal produced are particularly high for mines in such areas.
D. Even after Balzania began requiring surface mine operators to pay reclamation costs, surface mines continued to produce coal at a lower total cost than underground mines.
E. As compared to twenty years ago, a greater percentage of the coal mined in Balzania today comes from surface mines.

Every question of the day will be followed by an expert reply by GMATNinja in 12-15 hours. Stay tuned! Post your answers and explanations to earn kudos.



IMO its E.
Now there is greater percentage of coal mined, so coal quantity has increased.
Eventually, the per ton coal cost will reduce.

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Re: QOTD: Twenty years ago, Balzania put in place [#permalink]

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New post 14 Sep 2017, 21:30
Answer is E .. as it says the amount of coal produced has increased .. and if we keep the total reclaim amount fixed, the average amnt will decrease with increase in amount of coal produced

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Re: QOTD: Twenty years ago, Balzania put in place [#permalink]

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New post 15 Sep 2017, 00:04
IMO C.

We have been asked what caused drop in reclamation costs described .

As per paragraph it is clearly mentioned that

average reclamation cost for a surface coal mine being reclaimed today is only four dollars per ton of coal that the mine produced, less than half what it cost to reclaim surface mines

Option C says:

C. Mine operators have generally ceased surface mining in the mountainous areas of Balzania because reclamation costs per ton of coal produced are particularly high for mines in such areas.

We are talking about reclamation cost of surface coal mines . So as operators have ceased surface mining which is costly in mountainous areas , average reclamation cost is expected to be low

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Re: QOTD: Twenty years ago, Balzania put in place [#permalink]

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New post 15 Sep 2017, 00:36
I think it's C.

Twenty years ago, Balzania put in place regulations requiring operators of surface mines to pay for the reclamation of mined-out land. Since then, reclamation technology has not improved. Yet, the average reclamation cost for a surface coal mine being reclaimed today is only four dollars per ton of coal that the mine produced, less than half what it cost to reclaim surface mines in the years immediately after the regulations took effect.

Which of the following, if true, most helps to account for the drop in reclamation costs described?

A. Even after Balzania began requiring surface mine operators to pay reclamation costs, coal mines in Balzania continued to be less expensive to operate than coal mines in almost any other country. - Don't care about what is happening in other countries. Not relevant.

B. In the twenty years since the regulations took effect, the use of coal as a fuel has declined from the level it was at in the previous twenty years. - Not relevant. Use of coal has nothing to do with reclamation cost of the surface mines. Coal could still be heavily used, just not as a fuel. It still does not explain the lower reclamation cost compared to 20 years ago, especially since the tech has not changed.

C. Mine operators have generally ceased surface mining in the mountainous areas of Balzania because reclamation costs per ton of coal produced are particularly high for mines in such areas. -This explains why the reclamation costs could have gone down even though the reclamation technology hasn't improved. It is generally easier to level, say a ditch,on a leveled surface compared to that on a slope. So mine operators started mining on more leveled surface mines v/s mountainous areas - therefore lower reclamation costs.

D. Even after Balzania began requiring surface mine operators to pay reclamation costs, surface mines continued to produce coal at a lower total cost than underground mines.- Not relevant.

E. As compared to twenty years ago, a greater percentage of the coal mined in Balzania today comes from surface mines. - Surface mines could be situated anywhere. This does not tell us anything about why the costs could have gone lower. Not relevant.

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Re: QOTD: Twenty years ago, Balzania put in place [#permalink]

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New post 15 Sep 2017, 20:17
Twenty years ago, Balzania put in place regulations requiring operators of surface mines to pay for the reclamation of mined-out land. Since then, reclamation technology has not improved. Yet, the average reclamation cost for a surface coal mine being reclaimed today is only four dollars per ton of coal that the mine produced, less than half what it cost to reclaim surface mines in the years immediately after the regulations took effect.

Which of the following, if true, most helps to account for the drop in reclamation costs described?

A. Even after Balzania began requiring surface mine operators to pay reclamation costs, coal mines in Balzania continued to be less expensive to operate than coal mines in almost any other country. Out of scope! OUT
B. In the twenty years since the regulations took effect, the use of coal as a fuel has declined from the level it was at in the previous twenty years. Then the cost might have gone up, contradicts! OUT
C. Mine operators have generally ceased surface mining in the mountainous areas of Balzania because reclamation costs per ton of coal produced are particularly high for mines in such areas. Something changed from the past practice, and decreased the cost! Probable - Keep
D. Even after Balzania began requiring surface mine operators to pay reclamation costs, surface mines continued to produce coal at a lower total cost than underground mines. No reason why the cost dropped now! OUT
E. As compared to twenty years ago, a greater percentage of the coal mined in Balzania today comes from surface mines. But at what cost? OUT

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Re: QOTD: Twenty years ago, Balzania put in place [#permalink]

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New post 16 Sep 2017, 17:39
IMO

Surface mining + Underground mining = Total coal that the mine produced

Reclamation cost comes from only surface mining (as it destroys land surface)

So Average reclamation cost (for a surface coal mine being reclaimed today) per ton of coal that the mine produced is based on
Surface/(Surface+Underground)

Only way for the average to be reduced is to decrease in mix (percentage) of Surface mining or it's a increase in mix of Underground mining

Look at the answer choices, Only C. and E. say about the mix of coal production

But E. is telling that the mix of Surface is increased hence it's opposite to what we are looking for as this will increase the average reclamation cost

While C. is implying that the mix of Surface is decreased (or that of Underground is increased) as it's telling that "Mine operators have generally ceased surface mining in the mountainous areas of Balzania"
(The cease is only in mountainous areas (means that other areas of Balzania still have surface mining), that's why there is still reclamation cost. If the cease is for all areas, there will be no reclamation cost as it's no more surface mining in Balzania)

Actually, we can plug some numbers to test this...

"reclamation technology has not improved" is just there to have the cost of reclamation per area of land unchanged thus leave the mix as only factor

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Re: QOTD: Twenty years ago, Balzania put in place [#permalink]

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New post 13 Oct 2017, 00:42
GMATNinja wrote:
We are told that operators of surface mines have had to pay for the reclamation of mined-out land for the past twenty years. During that time, reclamation technology has not improved. Yet, the average reclamation cost for a surface coal mine being reclaimed today is significantly less than what it was twenty years ago.

So why has the average reclamation cost decreased even though the technology has not improved?

Quote:
A. Even after Balzania began requiring surface mine operators to pay reclamation costs, coal mines in Balzania continued to be less expensive to operate than coal mines in almost any other country.

We are not concerned with how the reclamation costs in Balzania compare to those in other countries. We are trying to explain why the average reclamation cost IN BALZANIA has decreased even though the technology has not improved. Eliminate (A).

Quote:
B. In the twenty years since the regulations took effect, the use of coal as a fuel has declined from the level it was at in the previous twenty years.

A decline in the use of coal might have caused a decrease in surface coal mining and thus an OVERALL decrease in reclamation costs, but that would not affect AVERAGE reclamation cost. Eliminate (B).

Quote:
C. Mine operators have generally ceased surface mining in the mountainous areas of Balzania because reclamation costs per ton of coal produced are particularly high for mines in such areas.

Before the regulations, operators did not have to pay for the reclamation of mined-out land, so they would have had no incentive to consider those costs when choosing mining sites. However, since the passing of the regulations, the operators HAVE had incentive to consider reclamation costs when choosing mining sites. As a result, the operators might have started to avoid mining in areas that would incur high reclamation costs (i.e. mountainous areas), thus reducing average reclamation cost. Choice (C) would help to explain why average reclamation cost has decreased even though the technology has not improved, so keep (C).

Quote:
D. Even after Balzania began requiring surface mine operators to pay reclamation costs, surface mines continued to produce coal at a lower total cost than underground mines.

We need a statement that explains why the average reclamation cost for a SURFACE coal mine has decreased. How those costs compare to those of underground mines is irrelevant, so (D) can be eliminated.

Quote:
E. As compared to twenty years ago, a greater percentage of the coal mined in Balzania today comes from surface mines.

Increasing the amount of coal from surface mines might increase the TOTAL reclamation costs from those sites, but, as with choice (B), this would not explain why the AVERAGE reclamation cost has changed. Choice (E) might explain why the operators of such mines are making more money, but it does not explain the change in reclamation costs. Eliminate (E). - If the cost 'per ton of coal produced' has decreased, wouldn't the increase in the production of coal help account for this?

Choice (C) is the best answer.

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Re: QOTD: Twenty years ago, Balzania put in place [#permalink]

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New post 13 Oct 2017, 03:57
Answer Should be C
Because of practice change mining reclamation cost changes.

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Re: QOTD: Twenty years ago, Balzania put in place   [#permalink] 13 Oct 2017, 03:57
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