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Effects of Metal Mining on the Environment

By Cheyenne Torres


Metal mining is the industry dedicated to the location and extraction of metal and mineral reserves around the world. These types of metals include gold, platinum, and silver while industrial metals include steel, copper, and aluminum.


But what does this practice have to do with the environment? Well, operations with waste products associated with metal extraction and processing can cause physical disturbances to the landscape, soil, and water contamination. All of these things are essential to having an environmentally friendly land base. If you wreck the soil and water contamination it could eventually go ahead and lead to the contamination of our water and soil that we use practically every day. Mining can pollute air and drinking water, harm wildlife and habitat, and permanently scar natural landscapes. This is crucial in certain areas where natural landmarks are the main part of their tourism. Modern mines as well as abandoned mines are responsible for significant environmental damage throughout the West since that is where most mines are located. When metal is extracted from the ground, it creates a lot of negative impacts on the environment.


Take for example Brazil. The country that’s becoming the world’s primary supplier of gold has the most environmental issues ever seen. The mineral mercury is included in gold and what people don't know is that mercury, when extracted from the ground, can lead to an increased mercury level in fish, which is very toxic not only to animals but to humans as well. Mining adversely affects the environment by inducing loss of biodiversity, soil erosion, and contamination of surface water, groundwater, and soil. Why does this matter you might ask? Significant use of water resources, dammed rivers, and ponded waters get damaged by mining almost every day. Wastewater disposal issues, acid mine drainage, and contamination of soil can lead to health issues. People in countries such as Brazil have had numerous health issues due to the contamination of their soil water supply and overall environmental air due to the impact that mining has on the ground.


But don't fear there is always a solution to every problem. We can make mining more substantial by lower-impact mining techniques used by the workers. Reusing mining waste instead of creating new mining waste that could eventually contaminate waters and soil. Using eco-friendly equipment I'm shutting down illegal mining sites. With enough people and persistence, we can educate people on how mining is infecting our environments and corrupting our health every day. Posting up links and articles on our social media and also just bringing up the effects of mining in everyday conversations can lead to Great effects later on. Protesting rallies and signing petitions to help afford all of these eco-friendly options could also be a great help to not only the environment but also our health.


Mining definitely has its pros and cons but we can make it have more pros by doing eco-friendly steps to just make it an easier and safer process for all.





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