Mining is the removal of minerals and metals from the earth (Het Rapport 2009). These minerals are found in the ore bodies, veins, or coal seams. Mining happens in all over the world today. Some of the valuable minerals that can be mined are coal, copper, silver, iron, gold, and diamonds (Mining 06/15/07). Mining is important to surviving today but is also hazardous to the earth (Miller 2001). Many people have issues with mining because of its impact on our environment. Researchers today will argue about the different types of mining. There are seven different types of mining that I have found to be accurate.
All of them have unique environmental impacts (Mining 06/15/07). The “open pit mining” is commonly used to extract “hard rock” from ores such as metal ores, copper, gold, iron, and commonly coal (06/15/07). It has the most severe effect on the environment because the removal of land destroys the habitat of many different animals which causes them to relocate or become endangered (06/15/07). In addition, when the mine is no longer in operation, the area can no longer be used for anything else. Deep-sea Mining is when mining involves extraction of minerals from the seabed (06/15/07).
A commonly used method in deep-sea mining is dredging. Dredge is used to scrape the minerals off the seabed (06/15/07). This type of mining can easily disturb the aquatic ecosystems. Hazardous elements are released from the sediments into the water (06/15/07). Because Deep-sea mining is relatively a new method of mining the long-term effects on the environment remains unknown (06/15/07). The main environmental effects unique to coal mining are the methane gases released (06/15/07). This causes the greenhouse effect. Coal mining is a massive industry and it provides jobs and a source of income to many families.
Coal mining is also very harmful to the environment. Methane; which is released during coal mining, is the leading contributor to global warming (06/15/07). Strip mining is also used to mine coal. This involves removing large strips of land to expose the minerals underneath (Miller 2001). The effect on the environment is that once coal is burned as fuel it creates fumes that pollute the air. Mountaintop Removal Mining is a new procedure that involves clear-cutting the target area of all forest. Next explosives are used to remove a maximum of thousand vertical feet of mountain to reach tiny coal veins underneath (06/15/07).
The “waste rock” is then moved into nearby valleys which is ultimately destroying the landscape, and the animals beneath it (06/15/07). Mountaintop Removal mining also causes economic depression in the country areas it occurs in (06/15/07). Gold Planning is a well-known type of Placer Mining (Kricher 1997). Today placer mining uses large sluice boxes and trammels which are devices that funnel water and ore to separate it from gold or gemstones (06/15/07). Water that is used for these devices collects a large amount of silt, which pollutes clear-water streams in the area.
The waste is just left at the site in piles and there are no laws forbidding this action (Miller 2001). Artisanal Mining is hazardous for the land, the water, and the people’s health. This type of mining uses mercury and cyanide to extract gold from the land (Kricher 1997). Artisanal mining also does some disfiguring to the land by creating permanent trenches. The substances use ultimately can get into the bloodstream of the local wildlife and eventually into ours (06/15/07). Researchers recently have found a form of mining that reduces the impact on the environment.
Sustainable mining is The general impacts of mining include energy consumptions, air pollution, and water pollution, destruction of land, ecosystem damage, and ultimately our safety and health (Miller 2001). Mining takes up a vast amount of energy. Energy distribution goes from the vehicles used to the transport the materials to controlling the temperature of mines deep underground (Kricher 1997). Methane is released in coal mines which add to environmental issues because it is a green house gas. Water is a major component in some types of mining.
Although some of the water is reusable, some toxic substances contaminate the water and the organisms in the water. During mining, open-pit method leaves behind large craters that can be seen from outer-space (06/15/07). In conclusion the current methods of mining are very harmful on the environment. Mining companies feel as though they are not harming anyone in particular but that they are just making a profit (Kricher 1997). To curb the effects of mining the community can make the companies accountable for their actions. Spreading the awareness of the issue is an effective way to start a change.