Mining And Its Impact On The Environment – Mining is the extraction of minerals and other geological materials of economic importance from the Earth’s deposits. Mining has a negative impact on the environment, causing loss of biodiversity, soil degradation and pollution of surface water and soil. Mining can also cause the formation of sinkholes. The release of chemicals from mines can have a negative impact on the health of people living in or around the mine.
In some countries, mining companies are expected to follow environmental and regeneration regulations to ensure that mining areas return to their original state. However, such rules are often violated.
Mining And Its Impact On The Environment
Air quality is adversely affected by mining operations. Pollutants are released when mineral deposits are exposed to the surface through mining. Air turbulence and nearby traffic make such devices airborne. Such elements often contain lead, arsenic, cadmium and other toxic elements. These pollutants can harm the health of people living near the mine. Respiratory diseases and allergies can be caused by inhaling particles such as airborne droplets.
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Mining also causes water pollution, including metal contamination, sediment build-up in rivers, and acid discharges. Pollutants emitted from processing plants, tailings, underground mines, landfills, active or abandoned areas, etc. is the main source of water pollution. Sediment released by overflows causes dams or chokes of waterfalls. Irrigation, swimming, fishing, domestic water supply and other activities dependent on such water sources are adversely affected. High levels of toxic chemicals in water threaten the survival of aquatic life and marine animals that depend on it for food. Acidic runoff from metal or coal mines also seeps into surface water or seeps into the ground to acidify the water. Loss of the normal pH of the water can have a negative effect on such aquatic organisms.
The creation of earthworks such as open pits and rock piles as a result of mining operations can cause physical damage to mine land. Such violations may contribute to the destruction of flora and fauna in the area. There is also the possibility that many surface features that existed before mining cannot be replaced after the process is completed. Removing topsoil and digging deep underground can damage the soil, threatening the future of roads and buildings in the area. For example, mining in Galena, Kansas, between 1980 and 1985 resulted in approximately 500 shaft collapses, leading to the abandonment of mines in the area. The entire mine was renovated in 1994-1995.
The worst effects of mining are often found after mining has ceased. Degradation or alteration of previously mined areas can have a negative impact on the biodiversity of the area. Mining causes huge losses to a variety of plants and animals, from soil microorganisms to large mammals. Endangered species are the most affected, as even a small disturbance in their habitat can lead to extinction or extinction. Toxins released from mines can wipe out all kinds of sensitive plants.
A world affected by mining can take time to recover. Sometimes he never recovered. Restoration efforts do not always guarantee the restoration of biodiversity in an area. Species may be lost forever. Can mining be sustainable? This is an important question if we want to use the limited resources of our planet in a more sustainable way. Find out here.
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Can mining be sustainable? This is an important question if we want to use the limited resources of our planet in a more sustainable way. The idea that mining provides the natural resources needed for the green revolution (lithium, nickel, cobalt and other battery metals), but the broader question of how to manage it in the long run is still debated. .
Mining is by definition the extraction of non-renewable resources, so finding ways to make it sustainable for future generations is complex and multifaceted.
If mining is to be more sustainable, we need to know the areas of greatest impact so that we can improve and reduce them in terms of resources. According to Alaskans for Responsible Mining, an NGO that speaks for the Western Mining Operations Network (WMAN), mining can destroy land, pollute air and drinking water, affect wildlife, habitat -habitat and can completely destroy the environment.
Much more needs to be done on the ground to make the mining life cycle safer and more sustainable. Now let’s look at the main areas of influence.
The Environmental Effects Of Irresponsible Mining Industry
Because the mining industry relies heavily on fossil fuels to operate, carbon emissions are a major issue for the industry. To combat these emissions, some countries have established regulations that require the use of emission credits. However, many countries still do not have a carbon emission code. In places like China and Russia, environmental standards are minimal and sometimes non-existent, which is a big problem as China continues to expand its mining operations.
According to a report by McKinsey consultants, the mining industry produces between 1.9 and 5.1 gigatonnes of CO2 equivalent (CO2e) emissions per year. Most of the gas comes from underground operations. Carbon emissions from mining, like emissions from all other industries, drive climate change.
It has been found that the fumes can cause respiratory health problems in local communities. Most of the carbon emissions from mining come from coal-fired methane. Not only that, a study by the United Nations says that the extraction and primary processing of metals and other minerals is responsible for 20% of the impact of air pollution and 26% of total carbon.
Molycorp is a good example of a company that has taken a mine and adapted its operations to more sustainable operating standards, what MIT simply calls “environmentally sensitive mining.”
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Mountain Pass is a mine located in the Clark Range, California, United States. It was previously owned by Chevron and closed in 2002 for various reasons, including competition from China. It has produced most of the world’s supply of rare metals. In 2008, it was acquired by Molycorp. The company has implemented changes, including new tailings storage methods to reduce climate change and water recycling, and the use of waste heat from steam and electricity to reduce carbon emissions. location.
Mining usually involves breaking down ore to obtain other minerals or metals. This creates dust that can affect human health, especially in coal mining. Riebeckite dust, a mineral dust similar to asbestos, can be inhaled into the lungs of humans and animals, causing pneumoconiosis and silicosis, better known as “Black Lung”. Pollen also comes from chimney tunnels.
Fluorine emissions from fluorine mining may contain fluorine dust (8.5 kg of fluorine per ton of oil dust), which is also harmful to human health if consumed in high concentrations, which is associated with skeletal fluorosis.
During the mining of radioactive minerals such as uranium, these radioactive chemicals can be released into the environment. These chemicals are called radionuclides and can contaminate waterways near these mines.
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While some studies of rivers in Portugal (an area rich in uranium) show that the concentration of these chemicals is within acceptable limits, there are cases where the water is very dangerous. For example, acid and metal discharges from the Zortman Landusk mine in Montana have destroyed biological life in dozens of streams in the Little Rockies. There have been more than a dozen cyanide spills at the mine, including one that released 50,000 gallons of cyanide solution and contaminated the community’s drinking water supply.
The ore mined in metal mines (such as gold, silver, copper, etc.) is often rich in sulfur minerals. During mining, these sulfides are exposed to water and air, and they react together to form sulfuric acid. Acidic drainage can be discharged from mines anywhere there is sulfide in the air and water. This includes piles, open pit tailings, underground tunnels. It has a significant impact on fish, animals and plants. Many affected streams may have a pH of 4 or less, which is the same pH as battery acid.
Robinson Dam in Randfontein, South Africa, contaminated and highly radioactive with uranium and iron pyrite from years of acid mine drainage.
Cyanide is often used to remove metals from oxidized materials. However, cyanide in pond water is known to cause death in animals. For example, in California, between 1980 and 1989, 7,613 animals died due to cyanide from ponds in the state and in Nevada and Arizona.
Environmental And Social Impact Assessments
All these problems come not only from the mines that are currently in operation, but abandoned mines can leave a huge legacy of environmental damage that can last forever. decades or even centuries. Acid dumping in mines is very dangerous because it can continue indefinitely.
This can result from the release of cyanide and mercury into waterways
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