YES you better believe it! Mines are going green and taking environmental impact into more consideration than ever before. The global population and natural environment face one of the toughest challenges to date, namely global climate change. What is the leading cause for climate change? Who or what can we blame? Obviously the answers for such questions are neither simple nor straight forward; however, it is evident that the ever rapidly growing amounts of greenhouse gas emissions released into our atmosphere play a massive influence in global climate change.
What exactly is green mining? Green mining involves improving the mineral and energy efficiency of mining operations in order to diminish the ecological footprint caused during mine life cycles. How are mine companies going to achieve this? There are various methods and tools that can save and preserve energy as well as materials for quarrying and for the enrichment of minerals. The awareness and urgency of such methods and tools have encouraged mine companies to achieve the development and research of green mining, for example, methods to decrease the amount of raw water consumption ARE being developed.
The purpose of green mining is to enforce the utilisation of all usable minerals as well as by-products and to also decrease the level of waste. Green mining will lead the global mining industry to a better and more positive image through improving environmental performance, promoting mining innovation and increasing the efforts towards a smaller carbon footprint.
There are 4 main areas of research with regards to green mining:
- Footprint Reduction implies the research and development of new mining and processing methods in order to shrink the bulk of waste produced and the quantity of toxins.
- Innovation in Waste Management is concerned with assessing and developing cost effective as well as environmentally sound waste management and different treatment technologies.
- Ecosystem Risk Management sees the examination of improved tools in order to assess and alleviate environmental impacts.
- Mine Closure and Rehabilitation: focuses on developing and applying options for project reclamation, mine closure and long-term monitoring and maintenance.
Expected benefits for successful green mining include minimising waste that’s produced, better treatment and waste management technologies, heightened awareness of metal behavior in the air, thus considerably improving the global mining environmental impact and public perception.
The concept of green mining, if achieved, will be the reason for successful developments of various innovative technologies and practices stipulating mines to leave behind only uncontaminated water, renewed landscapes, vigorous ecosystems, resulting in the decrease of global energy consumption.