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An Eco Friendly Mining Trend: Green Mining - Hande Mert

Energy means life. Without energy, modern human society as we know it wouldn’t be developed. The desire to access energy made human beings do lots of research. We can see that wood was an essential energy resource when we look throughout history because human beings used it to burned it up and did so much work with it daily. But after a while, technology took its turn, and human beings wanted more, so they found coal. It was effortless to reach, common, and a lot better energy source than burning woods. So human beings learned how to use underground sources for energy consumptions. Therefore they learned mining activities; it was working progress. The result was fulfilling, but extracting ore had a lot of negative aspects of human beings and the environment.

It is directly connected with the people who live somewhere with an ore reserve, which is economically feasible and valuable to extract. There is a common belief that, when a mining company wants to build a plant on an area to process the ore underneath, they’re going to make an end of nature and everything that belongs in it. This is incorrect. Unfortunately, the damage is inevitable, but we live in a growing world where the need for energy is on an increasing trend. Since mining activities can’t be stopped for the sake of being one of the most important sources of production of energy, mining Technologies improved in an environmentally sensitive way.

Figure 1: Molycrop's Usage go Green Mining Methods

Green mining is choosing new and environmentally friendly pieces of equipment in extracting and processing ore stages, new methods on mine closures, and reduction of chemical use to reduce environmental impacts. And green mining requires consistent research stages and developing new techniques to improve the project. Green mining is not as prevalent as it should be right now. But it is promising to see that the mining industry is dedicated to implementing mining activities by green mining measures. For example, decreasing energy usage in the plants and making more efficient electricity usage plans still make this process efficient.

To understand the actual effect of green mining, let’s look at a case study of an American mining company Molycorp.

It can be seen that even though the damage that is being done by the mining activities is not entirely removed, using green mining methods is a good start for the mining industry’s future to take shape.

While these alternative methods to replace the old methods sound good, it requires large amounts of fundings, and not all the mining companies in the world can increase their fundings simultaneously in short notice. That being said, according to implement green mining measures, unregulated mines should be shot down.

The new ones must also be open following these measures, which is unlikely when the bad conditions are considered. Like countries with financial pressure, lack of operable ore deposits, or underdeveloped countries with small funding companies. In the future, with more mining companies support, green mining methods are going to be more popular, and this is going to help the whole industry to change. And projects like Molycrop’s are a starting point for creating the future and protecting the environment as much as we can during mining activities.


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