Can Mining be Sustainable?

Mining is very important to our lives. Most of our stuff comes from the materials that we get from mining. But mining is very bad for the earth because the mine is basically a hole in the earth. Not only does a mine create a hole—it totally demolishes the land on top. Habitats for animals are gone because the mines destroy them. So here are some ways mines can be sustainable. 

One way is to restore the soil when the mine is done and you have the minerals and stuff. When the mine is finished, fill the hole with soil and plant trees on top. It is best to keep the same soil and put back the same soil that was there before the mine. That way the ecosystem won’t change much. 

In the mine is water, and everyone needs water. Sometimes miners release the water into the earth. But mine water is dirty and could even be poisonous. So if miners are going to release the water back into the earth it must be filtered really well. Mines need electricity, but burning coal is bad for the earth. So mines can have windmills power the mine or even use solar power or have water generate the electricity. 

Instead of leaving old mines, they can be filled in and make into something new. For example you can turn the new land into a place where you can book the land for special events. That way you can make money from it.  For example, an old mine was made into a hotel. Isn’t that amazing? You get to sleep in a mine. That place is called Sala Silvermine. 

Have you ever wondered how mines are made? Some mines are blown by explosives, so that means the soil is super dry and could catch on fire easily. So it’s important that you spray the soil with water often. 

Mining is important to our lives, but so is being sustainable. There are many ways to be sustainable while mining. These are only a few.

Thanks to Elizabeth Ehrlich for teaching me about sustainability in mining. Ehrlich is a University of Arizona student working on a bachelor’s in mining engineering with a focus in sustainable resource development and a minor in sustainable built environments.

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