What is Sustainable Mining?
Mining is the act of removing and consuming a limited resource. For this practice to be sustainable, it has to meet present requirements without compromising the needs of future generations.
This blog post will discuss what sustainable mining is, the importance of sustainable mining practices, and how mining companies are beginning to adopt sustainable practices.
The Definition of Sustainable Mining
Sustainable mining refers to the minimisation of negative environmental, economic, and social impacts of mining activities and the limitation of extraction rates that will not compromise the potential needs of future generations. In this context, “needs” not only apply to the resources being mined but also include basic necessities of life, such as water, food, sanitation, and jobs.
There have been limited attempts to establish a suitable framework that guarantees all stakeholders do ensure a mining operation is truly sustainable.
For example, some global investors still focus mainly on the investment returns of mining operations.
However, mining entrepreneurs should recognise that social responsibility, environmentally friendly mining, and commercial success are all intertwined.
A sustainable mining framework must emphasise the reduction of the environmental impact of mining and come up with strategies for measuring and monitoring various environmental performance metrics that can be used to evaluate the sustainability of mining operations.
The good news is that Australia has been at the forefront of the global pursuit of sustainable development in mining, thanks to a long history of implementing strong environmental and safety regulations. The Minerals Council of Australia is a leading advocate of sustainability and profitability in mining.
Their Enduring Value framework for sustainable development provides essential guidance for applying the principles of mining sustainability at an operational level. Companies engaged in mining activities in Australia have now acquired advanced capabilities in environmental and water management.
The Importance of Sustainable Mining
According to the United Nations, the extraction of construction minerals worldwide went up by a factor of 34, and that of ores and industrial minerals grew by a factor of 27 in the 20th century alone. This increasing demand for mineral resources puts substantial pressure on energy and water resources required for extracting metals. In addition, the increased pollution caused by the extraction process negatively impacts the environment.
Given the negative environmental impact of these processes on local communities, the significance of mining revenue on the economy of producing countries and the nonrenewable nature of mined resources, the efficient use of the resources, and the sustainability of mining practices remain sacrosanct.
How Can Mining Companies Enhance Sustainability?
In order to give sustainable mining meaning, mining companies must make a strong commitment to investments in modern technologies. They should also manage their mining projects in a socially and environmentally responsible manner. To achieve this, the companies have to develop a range of initiatives that enhance sustainability across the entire mining cycle, starting from the discovery of the resource through the exploitation phase to the closure of the mine.
However, mining companies are starting to be sustainable, especially in Australia. For example, Centennial Coal, a supplier of thermal coals to the Australian domestic and export markets, commissioned an assessment programme to determine water management capabilities at its mine sites. This allowed Centennial Coal to better understand the impact of water management on mine operations and the requirements for sustainability.
The Role of Mining in Australia
Supplies from the mines constitute one of the most important sources of critical raw materials every society requires for economic growth and technological development. Australia plays a leading role on the global platform and is regarded as a world leader in the production of vital mineral commodities.
On the home front, the mining industry is making a significant contribution to the country’s economic and social development. According to the Australasian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy (AusIMM), the mining industry contributes up to 75% of Australian exports. In addition, the industry plays a major role in the flourishing Australian economy, leading to rising incomes and a high standard of living in the country.
Coming to Western Australia, it is home to some of the largest mines in the country, producing a huge amount of mineral resources like iron ore and employing up to 20,000 people. With multiple ongoing iron ore projects, Western Australia is the world’s largest iron ore supplier.
It would not have been possible for the mining companies responsible for this sustainable development in mining to be so successful without the contribution of other players supporting the industry.
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Sustainable mining is eminently achievable if key stakeholders make a long-term commitment to sustainable mining practices. The burden can be made easier with contributions and support from a company like Bee Jays Canvas. We are Western Australia–owned and have been a trusted mining tarp manufacturer in the state for almost 40 years. With our state-of-the-art technology and fabrics, we also produce a wide variety of custom tarpaulins, container covers, and spare parts. We also provide tarpaulin hire and repair services. Contact our friendly team today for a discussion on your requirements.