Clique para arrastar essa janela
Sustainable mining – oxymoron or a way of the future?
Mining is an activity that has persisted since the start of humans
using tools. However, one might argue that digging a big hole in
the ground and selling the finite resources that come out of that
hole is not sustainable, especially when the digging involves the
use of other finite resources (i.e. fuels) and produces a lot of
The counter argument could go along the lines that minerals are
not being lost or destroyed through mining and mineral
processing – the elements are being shifted around, and
converted into new forms. Metals can even be extracted from
waste, seawater or even sewage, and recycled. But a more simple
argument is possible: a mine can be sustainable if it is
economically, socially and environmentally beneficial in the short
and long term. To be sustainable, the positive benefits of mining
should outweigh any negative impacts. […]
Social positives are often associated with mines in regional areas,
such as providing better amenities in a nearby town, or providing
employment (an economic and social positive). Social negatives
can also occur, such as dust, noise, traffic and visual amenity.
These are commonly debated and, whilst sometimes
controversial, can be managed with sufficient corporate
commitment, stakeholder engagement, and enough time to work
through the issues. Time is the key parameter - it may take
several years for a respectful process of community input, but as
long as it is possible for social negatives to be outweighed by
social positives, then the project will be socially sustainable.
It is most likely that a mine development will have some
environmental negatives, such as direct impacts on flora and
fauna through clearing of vegetation and habitat within the mine
footprint. Some mines will have impacts which extend beyond
the mine site, such as disruption to groundwater, production of
silt and disposal of waste. Certainly these impacts will need to be
managed throughout the mine life, along with robust
rehabilitation and closure planning. […]
The real turning point will come when mining companies go
beyond environmental compliance to create 'heritage projects'
that can enhance the environmental or social benefits in a
substantial way – by more than the environmental offsets
needed just to make up for the negatives created by the mine. In
order to foster these innovative mining heritage projects we need
to promote 'sustainability assessments' - not just 'environmental
assessments'. This will lead to a more mature appreciation of the
whole system whereby the economic and social factors, as well as
environmental factors, are considered in a holistic manner.
(adapted from https://www.engineersaustralia.org.au/western-australia-division/sustainable-mining-oxymoron-or-way-future.
Retrieved on August 10, 2015)