Sustainable Mining Essay

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The term sustainable mining is used loosely by governments and NGOs. Minerals are a finite resource with an uneven distribution on the earth crust, for a resource to be sustainable it has to be replenished, regenerative or renewable in its essence with no environmental impacts (D’Souza, 2012). It is true that there are abundant deposits of some minerals including silicon and iron, however other minerals like silver and copper are relatively scarce, and the recent economic and population growth rapidly accelerated the exploitation and consumption of these minerals(Miller & Spoolman, 2009:p.360). Moreover, some minerals (terbium and neodymium) are hard to extract because there are not many rich profitable deposits, meanwhile, they are highly…show more content…
There is a huge amount of water and energy consumption goes to the extraction and production of metals (about 7% of world energy and 0.03% of world water)(Izatt et al., 2014:p.2460), and the new technological advances are allowing the extraction of lower grade minerals at the expense of increasing energy consumption (Richards, 2005:pp.133–135). Another environmental aspect is mining activities which include blasting mountains to reach minerals,() , this causes permanent damage to the landscape and habitat modification (Anon, 2015). Another concern is the chemicals, loose soil, and minerals that can be washed with rainfall into the water stream, affecting downstream fish, plant life and water usability for human activities. Mine wastes represent a huge environmental problem. Hudson et al define them as “those waste products originating, accumulating and present at mine sites, which are unwanted and have no current economic value”. The scale of mine waste is huge, they are considered as one of the largest waste streams in the world despite them having a high concentration of hazardous chemicals and elements that are deadly to the wildlife and humans (Hudson et al, 2011). They have been discharged to marine, rivers, and lakes which is very lethal for the environment. New technologies, laws, and procedures are required for recycling and reusing these materials in sustainable

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