In our days, mining for resources is inevitable. The resources we need are valuable in everyday life. Such resources mined up are coal, copper, gold, silver, and sand. However, mining poses environmental risks that can degrade the quality of soil and water, which can end up effecting us humans if not taken care of and many of the damages are irreversible once they have occurred.
History and Case Studies of Mining and the Effects on the Environment
Mines pose a threat to the environment. They can degrade soil and water quality if left untreated. The United States Environmental protection Agency (USEPA)'s Region 9 assessment of state data states that there are approximately 420,000 abandoned mines in the states of California, Arizona, and Nevada with 13,242 of them being considered "abandoned mines with potential environmental hazard" (arizona.edu, 2008).
Left behind are tailings, which are large piles of crushed rock left over when minerals have been extracted from rocks that once contained them. These tailings are then left prone to wind dispersion and water erosion. This wind dispersion occurs since the sand-like tailings are easily swept up by the atmosphere by wind and spread throughout the environment as dust particles. Figure 1 shows the wind erosion of a mine tailings pile being blow up into the air, creating dust. These tailings contain metal contaminants like arsenic, lead, and cadmium, which creates a problem for the environment and they can persist for decades due to the low pH levels and can cause problems in soil stabilization (arizona.edu, 2008).
As a result of this process, the mine sites "do not develop normal soil structure or support the establishment of a plant cover". Many mine sites have...
... middle of paper ...
...sues with environmental concerns with mining and smelting, the economic issue is one of them that tops the list. Something needs to be done to drive the cost of environmental control equipment down. Should this be how the equipment is manufactured differently, made more efficiently, or created with lower cost material.
Coil, D., McKittrick, E., and Higman, B. (2010, December 16). Acid Mine Drainage. Ground Truth Trekking. Retrieved February 12, 2011, from http://www.groundtruthtrekking.org/Issues/MetalsMining/AcidMineDrainage.html
Mine Tailings. (2008). The University of Arizona Superfund Research Program (SBRP). Retrieved February 12, 2011, from http://superfund.pharmacy.arizona.edu/Mine_Tailings.php
Warhurst, A. (1999). Mining and the environment: case studies from the Americas. Ottawa, ON, Canada: International Development Research Centre.
Need Writing Help?
Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.Check your paper »
- Coal mining, in particular, strip mining has become the latest casualty of the growing green movement in the United States. What is strip mining. Encyclopædia Britannica Online defines strip mining as the removal of vegetation, soil, and rock above a layer of coal, followed by the removal of the coal itself (“strip”). Most Americans don’t realize the impact this material of biological origin that can be used as a source of energy (“fossil”), or fossil fuel, has on their everyday lives or the nation’s economy.... [tags: Environment ]
846 words (2.4 pages)
- Coal mining, in particular, strip mining has become the latest casualty of the growing green movement in the United States. What is coal mining. The Encyclopedia Britannica defines strip mining as the removal of vegetation, soil, and rock above a layer of coal, followed by the removal of the coal (strip). Most Americans don’t realize the impact this fossil fuel has on their everyday lives or the nation’s economy. According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, the mining industry directly employs some fifty thousand Americans with nearly half that number working in the more specific field of strip mining, or mountain top removal mining (Average).... [tags: Environment ]
853 words (2.4 pages)
- ... AMD is harmful to ecosystems because it makes water too acidic to support life. Cyanide is a deadly chemical, was used in the gas chambers of the Second World War and on death row in the United States between 1930-1980. 2. Police repression: People were in the streets to protest against Barrick and some even died in the confrontation with police at an anti-mining demonstration. On May 5, 2006, Joel Martel Castro Monte, a 25 years old agronomy student and Guillermo Tolentino Abat and a 42 years old miner were shot dead by police.... [tags: mining industry, environment, people]
516 words (1.5 pages)
- With an increasing global demand for metals, mining corporations have to scale up their mining operations in order to meet that demand at the expense of the environment. The enormous demand originates from mining’s essential role in society to produce various products designed to benefit the populace. These products range from small handheld devices that aid in everyday life or large machines that supported the foundation of society. However, mining leads to a variety of byproducts that affect the environment, for better or for worse.... [tags: pollution, ecology]
1185 words (3.4 pages)
- Imagine having a backyard where one had prime cross country skiing slopes, trickling streams and waterfalls, natural caves to go swimming and spelunking in, wetlands to go wild-ricing, fly fishing for trout, and mountains and valleys to take 5-day canoe portages and hiking adventures throughout, all near one’s own house. With the cool breeze and the abundant snowfall the often accumulates up near the Upper Peninsula, due to the lake effects of Lake Superior, there would never be a dull moment with the weather, either.... [tags: environment, lake superior]
1441 words (4.1 pages)
- ... Mining projects create quite a lot of dust during mine construction and during hauling of ores from the mine to the processing area, the dust during transportation is minimised by building road (even though they are often dirt) to a high quality with surface additives to prevent more dust in dry seasons as well as ongoing maintenance . Water pollution affects the quality of the water from the mine sites such as with Acid mine drainage (AMD), which creates sulphuric acid from the sulphide minerals in the rock when they come into contact with water and oxygen.... [tags: water polution, carbon monoxice]
846 words (2.4 pages)
- Tted in Turkey shows that “mining operations produces acidic waters with high concentrations of dissolved iron, sulfate, and metals or semimetals, thus posing a health hazard to humans” (Karayaka, 2014, p. 113). The unwanted remains of mining facilities are not being carefully observed. This is a problem not only to the human health but also to the environment. Another aspect to this problem is that people in low-income countries need jobs. The mining industry provides many jobs for these people.... [tags: pollution, health hazard, water]
979 words (2.8 pages)
- Each Man’s Son, by Hugh MacLennan, is set in Cape Breton where the mining industry acts as the focal point in the lives of most characters. Mining brings “great wealth and prosperity, as well as great misery and environmental destruction” (Armstrong et al. vii). Industrial capitalism, in Each Man’s Son, is a toxic force that aids in presenting the negative social and physical effects on the community of Broughton through the changes in environment, the physical and emotional repercussions of the colliery being bombarded onto men, and the emotional effects the colliery has on women.... [tags: environment, mining industry, coal]
890 words (2.5 pages)
- The Pueblo Viejo Mine in the Dominican Republic is bleeding acid straight into the locals’ source of water (Viert). The Yanacocha Gold Mine in Peru is releasing heavy metals and inflicting harm on natives of the area (Hecht). The Rosebud Mine in Montana, USA is emitting fugitive dust in very large quantities, enough to start affecting the health of those living near the mine (Viert). Even with all this evidence some people say that pollution from mining is not an issue. Pollution resulting from mining activity that is caused by mining in general, the burning of coal, and the emission of fugitive dust, often results in the release of heavy metals, creation of acidic water, and generation of h... [tags: Environment, Pollution, Acid Rain, Mining]
2445 words (7 pages)
- We use energy in our ever day life, all the time. Have you ever wondered where the energy comes from; this paper includes two of the energy sources that we in Kansas rely on in a day to day lifestyle. Energy is all around us and it is a big part in our daily life style, coal powers our homes on a major scale but creates pollution, wind energy makes little pollution but it does not deliver quite the energy output. Coal is a hard, combustible, sedimentary rock that is found where organisms have been deposited overtime, the deposition of coal results in four stages of coal are: Peat, Lignite, Bituminous, Anthracite.... [tags: environment, coal, mining]
1518 words (4.3 pages)