Note: Read the full research here.
Mining is one of the world's oldest industries, thriving on the growth of our cities and populations. It provides the foundation for our livelihoods from our buildings to our mobile devices. A stable source of income for millions, however, this money-oriented industry’s activities have caused significant harm to our environment over the years. Their unsustainable practices have caused lasting and irreparable damage, destroying entire ecosystems as a consequence. The majority of mining operations are carried out in developing nations, where environmental issues are often overlooked. The opportunity cost of lost finances to fund sustainable alternatives is too high for them to bear. Despite this, the environment cannot take more of the copious amounts of air, water, soil and noise pollution produced by the mines. In India alone, 400,000 tonnes of methane are released by mines yearly. As degradation, desertification, drought and acid rain, brought about by these pollutants, deplete natural resources, rehabilitation becomes costly and increasingly difficult to implement. With the health of populations declining at unprecedented rates due to exposure to the mining industry’s toxic remnants, the financial burden does not seem as heavy as it once did.
The adoption of Green Mining Technologies is the way forward. Many countries around the globe are taking initiatives towards a sustainable future. Numerous countries have been cited achieving notable results. Green mining also aims to reduce the release of greenhouse gases and ensure more efficient use of energy and minerals. Significant funding by mining nations like Canada, Australia, South Africa and more have gone towards exacerbating research on the topic. As of late, many mines have taken steps towards eradicating illegal mining, controlling their levels of pollution and wastewater, with the goal of reducing their impact substantially by 2030. An unexpected bonus is that companies have actually seen to become more profitable after implementing green mining techniques. Some of the innovations include carbon capture storage and eco-friendly vehicles to help reduce their carbon footprint. Eco innovation has also been seen in the recycling of mining waste to promote a circular economy. Another means of mitigating the harm of the mining industry is through promoting green supply chain management. As technology is becoming cheaper and more accessible, the demand for devices is skyrocketing. Mining companies in India were the first to implement this into their supply chain and have seen pronounced changes. Green procurement, manufacturing, distribution and logistics and transportation were all sustainable alternatives implemented throughout the product lifecycle. The green supply chain management has actually helped companies achieve profits, whilst protecting the environment. Thus, alleviating the fear that valuing sustainability will cut into company finances.
Despite all these initiatives, mining still creates colossal degradation of our environment. Many mining companies continue to lack effective safety regulations and do not adopt newer green technologies. Government regulations in some countries are weak and their implementation lacking. It is crucial that environmentally friendly alternatives take precedence to better mitigate the damages.
Clean Mining, a part of Clean Earth Technologies, has the solution—a clean, non-toxic mineral processing technology that eliminates cyanide and mercury traditionally used in the gold recovery process. As such, the gold recovery process is environmentally and financially sustainable, and at the same time, more beneficial to the health and safety of mine employees and local communities.
Gold mining companies must take action to eradicate the use of toxic chemicals in the gold recovery process—that will be part of the Green and Sustainable Initiative.