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Over the past decade or so the mining sector has seen a massive shift towards running a more sustainably driven industry. Where once it was an industry solely driven by profit, sustainable mining has taken a higher priority – especially in Australia.
What does that mean exactly? For a mining company to be sustainable they need to carefully analyse the mineral resource market shifts, follow environmental laws, and even give back in some way to the environment. This article will explore this in more detail below. Read through with us and learn about what mining companies are doing to reach their sustainable development goals.
What is sustainable mining?
Sustainable mining is the extraction of resources whilst suppressing and improving upon the economic, social and environmental impact. Australia has proven it’s a world leader in sustainable mining. Companies are striving to provide better job opportunities across the country, strictly adhere to environmental regulations and laws, and develop and implement innovative technologies and mining techniques to ensure Australia is on course for sustainability.
Why is it important?
The positive effect mining has on climate change and local communities is substantial thanks to the leaps in bounds companies have made to improve operations. There have been a number of improvements in the industry to ensure natural resources are being extracted more sustainably, mining techniques employed to carbon emissions, and more. The mining industry is always pushing itself and continuing to innovate to establish a positive contribution to the Australian environment, ecosystem and wildlife as well as proving a good life for future generations.
With this in mind, there is no question that the mining industry is very important to Australia. The industry provides energy and power to all those that live and work in Australia. Not only must the mining sector continue to improve upon its environmental impact, but it must also do so to ensure it’s economically viable for everyone living within Australia. Thus, it’s gravely important that the industry continues to be driven by sustainability.
How can mining become more sustainable?
Responsible mining operations require the full commitment of companies and workers. There are a number of techniques used in the industry to become more sustainable, reduce its carbon footprints, and be more economically stable.
Reclaiming decommissioned mines
As you have become aware reading this article, mining technologies and methods have been improved over the years including better exploration and innovative solutions to resource extraction that were previously unobtainable. This means old mine sites that have since been closed for a few decades will more than likely have a wealth of untouched resources, that modern mining techniques will be able to obtain. Rather than mining companies constructing a new mine site, they will be better off reclaiming a previously closed mine, majorly reducing damage to the environment.
Eco-efficient mining operations
Historically speaking, mining operations were an inefficient procedure. They produced a lot of waste, cost a lot of money, and used large amounts of fuel and resources to get the work done. Thanks to modern advances in technology as well as procedures, mining activities are able to run and operate with a reduction in spending and fuel usage. Some of these operations include the usage of smart mining equipment and better communication systems.
Smart mining equipment: smart mining includes autonomous machinery and plants that are able to do more than just operate without a person. They have machine learning systems built into them that assess and determine the best methods and quantities of resource extraction.
Communication systems: communication is key to keeping a mine site running smoothly. Sites that implement modern communication masts and hubs will ensure that information is able to get to those that need it.
Green waste disposal methods
The mining sector produces a lot of carbon emissions, partly due to fuel emissions and partly due to waste disposal. Companies that take waste seriously will reduce their footprint significantly. Methods of waste management include recycling and reusing resources where possible. For example, the use of grey water in non-drinking locations, and re-use in off-site locations in the agriculture and construction industries. Efficient mining is about not only reducing fossil fuel burning and damage reduction but reapplying and repurposing material that has use somewhere else.
Giving back to the environment
By and large, mine sites, strip the land of any chance of rehabilitation if there are no efforts to do so. Topsoil and natural drainage systems are removed, making plant growth and wildlife habitation impossible, or so it seemed. Mining communities have taken this issue seriously and developed recovery programs that utilise topsoil and biosolid in a way that prevents further erosion, and promote future seed growth. It’s possible to rehabilitate even the most excavated areas, that once seemed to have been forever destroyed.
Sustainable power and communication solutions
We at Mining Technicians Group Australia pride ourselves in providing the best, most effective and innovative engineering solutions for mining companies. If you’re in the market for an engineering consultant or expertly designed and thoroughly tested and reliable communication equipment, look no further than MTGA. The MTGA team is only a call away on: 08 9415 0748.