Could Mining Ever Be Eco-Friendly?


It’s no secret that mining has caused severe damage to the environment in the past and so the question on everyone’s lips, is whether or not this could change in the future. With new technologies, from a rock hammer to smart ore sorting, mining has completely changed in the past few years. It has become safer and more efficient – but could it become eco-friendly too? We’re digging a little deeper, below.

Steps Are Already Being Taken

MiningThe mining industry has been under increasing pressure in recent months to do their part in saving the environment and as a result, steps are already being taken to do precisely that. With better control over waste, improved energy efficiency of tools and technology and the reclamation of inactive mines, the industry is on its way to doing something good.

One of the biggest concerns relating to mining has been and continues to be the waste created throughout the process. With methane, dust and contaminated water all playing their part in environmental issues, mining companies are now working to better control the output. New standards have meant that companies need to implement better dust control, while zero-discharge water programs are also becoming commonplace, with the use of vacuum evaporation and crystallization techniques. Methane capturing is also becoming a widespread action, with companies using gas-pulling techniques to reduce the risk of explosions. 

How Could They Do It Better?

Alongside waste management already in place, there are a number of things that mining companies can do to better encourage eco-friendly activity. From closing and repurposing old mines to recycling old materials, here are a few things that can be done:

1. Close Old Mines

MiningPrior to the introduction of deeper regulation globally, there were a considerable number of unregulated and illegal mines in various locations across the world. However, with new regulations that are now being enforced more strictly, these mines could soon begin to close down and this will have a drastic effect on the environmental impact of the whole industry. It will ensure that all active mines follow regulation to the letter and that environmental practices are put into place to help reduce damage and waste.

2. Mine Reusable Materials

When it comes to any kind of mining, some of the mined materials tend to be the biggest culprits for waste. Whether it’s the leftover waste once an ore has been processed, or simply the extraction of materials that pose a one-time use, this needs to be dealt with on a larger scale within the industry. Some companies are already turning their efforts to not only mining for reusable materials but are using reusable and more durable materials to do so.

3. Replenish the Surrounding Environment

MiningPerhaps the most important thing that all mining companies should be looking to do is replenish and repurpose the mines that they have finished with. There are currently thousands of unused mines around the world that, when replenished, could be put to good use. Whether it’s replenishing the natural soils around the mine site, repairing and sustaining the ecosystem, properly removing waste from the area and undertaking full site inspections, mining companies can better determine whether the mine site can be rejuvenated. In most cases, a bit of extra work is all it takes to replant trees and forestry and sow the proverbial and literal seeds for a more sustainable environment in the coming years.

While the mining industry has quite some way to go, it’s certainly been taking steps to improve its environmental impact. With waste control and energy efficiency already in place, taking a more proactive approach to dealing with unused mines could be all it takes to replenish the surrounding environments and create a healthier overall ecosystem.

Article Submitted By Community Writer

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