Top Ways Mining Can Be More Sustainable

We take a look at the 9 ways and innovations that can help the mining industry become more sustainable.

Mining has a large impact on the surrounding environments. The industry produces an average of 1.8 billion tons of waste just in the US every year. On a yearly basis mining can emit up to 5.1 gigatons of carbon emissions.

9. Sustainable Energy


Mining takes a large amount of energy to operate. From the transport to the sites, to the extraction of the ores. The Diavik Diamond Mine uses energy from solar panels and wind turbines, these save the mining company money as well as reducing their carbon footprint.

8. Repurposing Mining Sites


This unlike replenishment is using the damage done to create a new environment for people. This mine in Shanghai was transformed into a hotel and extreme sports centre. It uses the shape of the mine leftover to create an attraction for visitors.

7. Lower Impact Mining


Open pit mining and underground mining are the most common traditional types of mining. These types cause extreme damage to the environment and surrounding areas. A technique called in-situ leaching mining could reduce this threat to the environment. This method is to dissolve the minerals and pump them out instead of digging them up.  

6. Portable Mining Rigs


Drill mining is less harmful to the environment but it is hard to do in remote areas because of accessibility. A mining company has created a compact portable rig which measures 4 metres by 4 metres. This is a massive size decrease to normal rigs which are traditionally around 20 metres in length and width. This allows drilling to happen without destroying the surrounding areas to create a rig.

5. Reusing Waste


Most waste created from mining is left behind on the site. Materials like rock can be repurposed within the site to reconstruct areas which prevents further erosion. Leftover water from mines can be treated and used within agriculture, coolant or drinking water.

4. Switching From Diesel To Electric


Most mining vehicles run off diesel which not only increases our carbon footprint but also can contaminate the surrounding environment. Switching to electric run vehicles or hybrids which decrease our effect on the environment and save the mining companies money.

3. Replenishing Mining Sites 


Mining of all kinds causes extreme damage to the environment and site which is being used. The erosion of the earth can continue even after the mining is long finished. Replenishing the area with biosolids can make the land usable or can be habitable for animals and vegetation.

2. Putting a Stop To Illegal Mining


Illegal mining puts more strain on the environment and resources. This type of mining is typically done in an area which isn't suitable, this then causes damage to the land and the surrounding environment. This can harm wildlife as well as creating more unnecessary carbon emissions.

1. Methane Capturing Techniques


Methane is often released when mining occurs. This is harmful to the environment and atmosphere and it can cause accidents within the mine. Methane gas if left unmonitored can cause large explosions. CONSOL Energy has created an extraction method where the methane is turned into carbon dioxide and water.


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