8 Ways to Make Mining More Sustainable

Mining can be an intense operation requiring many resources, including land, energy, and water. If it’s not done correctly, it often leads to severe environmental damage. The harm caused by mining activities usually leaves a trail of destruction which could last for many years, even after the mining projects cease.

Officials worldwide have backed ways to reduce the mining industry’s environmental impact and carbon emissions. Mining experts have taken this initiative seriously and are leaning towards sustainable mining.

Here are some ways to make mining more sustainable:

Low-Impact Mining Methods

Technological advancements and alternative mining methods appear to be the most sustainable for the environment. Traditionally, mineral extraction was done through an open pit, shaft, and underground mining techniques. Although these methods were tried and tested, they could devastate the environment.

Techniques such as in-situ leaching could significantly reduce the environmental impact of mining. Such techniques lessen the disturbance of land surfaces at mining sites. This lowers the risk of adverse environmental impacts like soil erosion.

Also, low-impact mining techniques allow for quick and easy revegetation after mining operations. They also reduce mining costs because less backfilling is required.

8 Ways to Make Mining More Sustainable

Recycle Mining Waste

Every mining activity produces vast amounts of waste. This includes rocks, rubble, tailings, and wastewater. At times, mining companies dump their waste in hazardous ways. These often lead to severe environmental damage. Fortunately, every mining activity can recycle its waste products.

For example, wastewater can be treated and recycled for agricultural purposes, cooling, dust reduction, and human or animal consumption. Also, rocks and boulders can be used for construction projects like building walls and terraces. Even some toxic waste could have a couple of other eco-friendly uses, such as brick production and others.

Some new mining technologies could even further extract minerals from mining waste products like tailings. This helps reduce the minerals in the waste left behind when the mining activities cease.

Eco-Friendly Equipment

Another way to make mining more sustainable is switching traditional equipment to eco-friendly machinery. For example, diesel-powered equipment can be replaced with electric machines. This could reduce the carbon dioxide released into the atmosphere.

Use Green Energy Alternatives

Using battery-powered equipment could have some lasting advantages in the fight against carbon emissions. Mining companies can invest in renewable energy solutions like solar power if funds permit. This will result in massive savings in the long run.

Use More Durable Machinery

Mining companies can upgrade their machinery to more durable and advanced equipment for sustainability. Doing so could help decrease machinery turnover and lower the cost of replacing tools frequently.

In addition, durable equipment also helps reduce the impact of damaged machinery on the environment. For example, high mileage tires could help save the environment from rubber waste.

Rehabilitate Mining Sites

Mining generally disrupts the environment and, at times, causes it to be less hospitable. For instance, mining activities can disrupt the soil composition and water acidity, affecting the vegetation around the mining site. This could lead to environmental degradation like soil erosion.

Instead of leaving a mining site unproductive, companies could use some land rehabilitation techniques like reforestation programs. This would ensure that the environment remains intact and productive even after mineral extraction. Using rehabilitation techniques could also help speed up the natural recovery process of mined land.

Stop Illegal Mining

Illegal mining is a scourge in most mining districts. It often causes severe damage to the environment, as most mining standards and regulations are disregarded.

Also, most illegal miners conduct their businesses on land unsuitable for mining. Therefore, to ensure mining standards and regulations are adhered to, illegal mining has to be prevented.

Also, this allows for transparency and accountability in the mining industry. And it could help promote sustainable mining.

Enforce Regulations

Sustainable mining regulations must be set up and enforced as a follow-up to closing down illegal mining activities. These regulations may differ between states, but if adhered to, they could go a long way toward making mining more sustainable.

Recap

The mining industry is unsustainable in many ways. It uses techniques that often leave the environment damaged. Chemicals in the waste products from mining activities also pose a severe risk to the ecosystem.

However, the good news is that many modern technologies could improve mining sustainability. These include:

  • Low-impact mining
  • Recycling
  • Using eco-friendly equipment
  • Rehabilitating mining sites
  • Stopping illegal mining

Although these techniques may seem costly, they have positive short-term and long-term results. Most companies are leaning toward sustainable mining; don’t be left behind.

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