The mining industry plays a crucial role in our day-to-day lives. Mining is the reason behind the innovations of today and tomorrow, in turn creating more than 40 million jobs around the world. Therefore it’s essential to mitigate the environmental effects of mining to protect mother nature for future generations to come.
Technological advancements often rely on mining metals such as lithium, tin, copper, aluminium, silver, gold and nickel. Whilst there is a negative connotation toward mining, it is the basis of our technological advancements and an essential part of the world.
Mining impacts on the environment
Despite our reliance on mining in our day to day lives, there are obvious environmental impacts, which is why strict rules and regulations are in place. This helps to limit and prevent environmental catastrophes from mining activities. There are environmental effects of mining operations as a result of both direct and indirect mining practices.
Mine exploration, construction, operation, and maintenance can result in land-use changes. local environments can be impacted by deforestation, erosion, contamination and alteration of soil profiles, and contamination of local streams and wetlands. Depending on the type of mine, it will likely result in an increase in noise level, dust, and emissions. Soil and water contamination may occur when a mine has been abandoned or decommissioned. However, the most significant environmental effects of mining have to do with water management as processing minerals requires large quantities of water.
It is critical for companies to have an effective and efficient water management strategy in place, as the environmental effects of mining can occur to the mismanagement of water. Through mining exploration, water tables are exposed. This requires pit dewatering to keep the mine operating. In turn, enabling engineers to access recoverable resources and effectively manage the by-products of the process.
How can mines become more environmentally responsible?
Mining operations use large amounts of water to process minerals uncovered through mining. This process pollutes the water with heavy metals and is often stored in a tailings dam. Water management is essential to prevent seeping tailings, and waste rock impoundments from negatively impacting the local environment.
Engineers have developed innovative technologies to help manage waste and acid water whilst extracting valuable resources from their tailings waste. With decades of experience in helping mining and industry leaders achieve commercially and environmentally sustainable outcomes which enable safe, compliant, and profitable operations for their future. Water evaporation is a solution to various environmental problems mining companies may encounter, such as water management and wastewater storage.
Mechanical evaporators, at their most straightforward, evaporate water separating solids from wastewater. The solids/slurry are left at the bottom of the tailings damn can then be extracted and used for resources. Minetek has the world’s largest and most cost-effective water evaporators, saving you five times the amount of traditional water management methods. This water management solution is designed to reduce risk and potentially save lives.
Why is environmental responsibility important in mining?
Despite advancements in these technologies, there have been a handful of cases of environmentally dangerous mines. This is caused by mining companies prioritising profits over the environment and not effectively managing their wastewater. It’s vital to mitigate and reduce mining impacts on the environment to ensure the longevity of mining operations.
In 2013, an Australian mining company, Greenland Minerals Limited, planned to exploit one of the world’s largest deposits of rare earth metals and uranium near the small town of Narsaq. However, the tailings disposal plan involved storing tailings in the historic Taseq lake, which would cause pollution to the lake and the rivers leading from it and the ocean beyond. These tailings would introduce fluorine, heavy metals, and radioactive decay products into the lake. The project triggered a wave of anger across Greenland, even sparking a snap election that saw a green party elected. With a new government opposed to the mine, the project has come to a standstill.
This was all completely avoidable. Minetek evaporators could have provided a solution rather than dumping wastewater and causing a wave of controversy.
Governments across the globe are beginning to introduce environmental legislation to tackle climate change. This is primarily attributed to the fact that environmental impact was not understood or appreciated as it is today.
The solution to environmentally responsible mining
While the mining industry has already made some changes to mitigate the negative consequences of mining, there is much more they can do. If mining companies don’t make further improvements, they risk being penalised by governments worldwide. This new legislation will directly impact the mining industry; it is becoming imperative to seek out alternatives to be more environmentally responsible.
Minetek has environmentally friendly solutions to managing wastewater on mine sites. Our water evaporators are the world’s largest and most cost-effective, saving you five times the amount of traditional water management methods. This water management solution is designed to reduce risks and mining impacts on the environment.
Minetek is a global industrial solutions provider with decades of experience in helping mining, power generation, oil, gas, and other industries achieve environmentally sustainable water evaporator system management outcomes, enabling safe, environmentally responsible, and profitable operations. Our cost-effective range of mechanical water evaporation and water quality management technologies helps to reduce risk and ensure compliance.
Discover how you can benefit from Minetek’s evaporation technology and water management solutions by leaving your details below.