Last updated: April 19, 2019
Topic: BusinessMetals
Sample donated:

One of the oldest global industries, mining has been around forever, and most likely won’t be going anywhere anytime soon. As people have become more concerned with the environment in which we live, being environmentally friendly has become very popular and trendy, and a lot of people are hopping on the bandwagon. Mining provides us with so many resources vital to our life style, that people almost look past all the destruction of the land and the pollution that it causes.

But what’s more important, the conservation of the land, or the destruction that comes with the mining of 42 different minerals used to make a cell phone, and essentially what are we going to do when we run out of these resources. Our world is a beautiful place, providing it’s people with all the supplies we need to live our luxurious lives, and a lot of these necessities come right out of the ground which is very hurtful to our planet. Mining is not environmentally friendly at all and has been contaminating our world for centuries.

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But we need what the world has to offer, and right now, mining is the way to get it. There are regulations and laws to protect our environment in which mining companies must obey, but environmentalists insist these rules become stricter in order to maintain our environment. Before global warming became such a scare, people didn’t think twice about pollution and there wasn’t a problem. Miners weren’t worried about polluting the land and were making lots of money, and the environmentalists didn’t yet know of the damage these mining companies were causing.

But things quickly changed. Here are a couple claims from environmentalists concerned with the impacts of mining. “Little attention was paid to the environmental consequences of mining until the middle to late twentieth century, when social agitation and government regulation forced mining companies to address the issue” (Boland 1202). After years and years, everything was about to change. Technological advancements helped shine light on the pollution mining caused and how damaging it was to our environment.

Therefore mining companies began to receive extreme scrutiny from environmentalists. Another example from American biologist Ehrlich, a concerned environmentalist states, “We have wrecked the planet” (Smith). And yet another example of an environmentalist concerned with the environmental effects of mining insists, “our world could suffer huge environmental impacts from pollution”(Raulston 59). The problem is, mining is such a huge industry, involved with so much and has been growing “From the moment humans discovered stone tools and salt” (Boland 1202) that it can’t just be terminated.

A couple of types of common pollution from a typical mining site could consist of, surface pits, noise and vibration during operations, subsidence caused by underground workings, piles of unconsoli-dated waste material leading to unstable ground, dust pollution, and the influx of sediment into watercourses. Chemical contamination of surface and ground water, air, and soil, which may be long lasting, can be caused by acid mine drainage and the release of metals or the chemicals used to process ore. (Boland)

An example of an extremely contaminated mining complex is the Summitville Mine in Colorado. Michael Mckinley, an environmentalist in charge of the clean up of the mine, describes what happened, and how it effected the environment. He describes the broken pumps and drains which caused Cyanide to drain into the local watershed contaminating the areas’ drinking water. “Several waste rock piles reacted with rain to cause acidic waters, which in turn flowed into the streams, and the mine deforested a large portion of the land”(Mckinley 1).

There is a huge effort to remedy the contaminated areas, such as “backfilling mine waste into existing open pits, which reduces polluted water percolating into the ground; plugging underground tunnels; and replanting” (Mckinley 2). Another issue brought up consisted of mining all the resources and then abandoning the site. This is a “destructive process that benefits a few corporations at the expense of local communities and the surrounding land when left behind. ” (Mckinley 1).

Those are just a couple of the main pollution related environmental problems a mine can cause. But technological advances in the mining field are on the move making mining more environmentally friendly and providing an answer to the environmentalists. A new breakthrough called “coal to liquid” fuels offer clean and affordable fuels through coal mining. The National Mining Association stated some of the benefits of these mines, which consist of “Energy diversification, economic stimulation, and clean fuels.

A typical CTL plant, with an output of 25,000 barrels per day, can support 1,000 construction jobs, 600 permanent on-site jobs and at least 150 jobs at the supporting coal mine” (Kaye) Miners insist that such a big operation like one of these brings so much opportunity and is great for the economy. The National Mining Association is a group of miners, supporters and mine owners, who have come together to fight for miners and mining rights in Washington, D. C.

Their purpose is to promote “the production and use of coal and mineral resources produced by the U. S. mining industry” (Kaye) As for now, the environmentalist’s best approach has seemed to be though cleaning up abandoned mine locations, called “remedy projects,” or “superfund projects. ” Such as decreasing acid drainage in these areas and removing all toxic waste left from the old mines. Unfortunately sometimes the area is so polluted there is not much to do, streams are completely ruined and towns’ drinking water is often undrinkable.

A point that Mckinley emphasizes is the importance of the remediation of these mining sites as soon as possible because if nothing is done about these toxic areas beautiful places will always stay waste piles with toxic streams. Another example Mckinley gives is the environmental disaster a certain mine in California had on the environment. Mining for copper, gold, silver and zinc for over 75 years takes an extreme toll on the land.

Drinking water ruined, dead fish and acid waste everywhere caused for an intense remedy project. But through the mind of an environmentalist, it has to be done if we want to keep the world a special place. Because there is so much money in the mining industry, and such a high demand for all the goods mined from these mines. The mining industry is still booming like it always has been. The only way this will all be solved is to come up with a fail proof plan that both the miners and environmentalists agree with.

Surprisingly the environmentalist, Boland came up with this thought, “mining can contribute to global sustainable development if the products and profits of present-day mining are used to provide other assets of equivalent or greater value to succeeding generations (Boland 1205). If other assets equivalent or greater value is found, this method could be successful because it provides a plan for the environmentalist’s grim and worrisome outlook on the future, and the world would still be able to keep up with our needs, and all 42 minerals for our cell phones can be produced.