Why is gold mining bad for the environment
Gold is indeed valuable, in the financial world this is one of the safe-haven assets, but behind that, the impact of gold mining is bad for the environment.
This is the other side of the value of gold because the impact of gold mining can pollute the environment and can possibly endanger humans themselves.
Gold mining in both small and large scale mostly use chemical drugs that can disrupt the environmental ecosystem.
Why is gold mining bad for the environment?
The explanation below will try to explain the impact of gold mining, which can endanger human health and environmental pollution.
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Is gold mining bad for the environment?
Gold mining by small and large miners has an impact on the environmental ecosystem. Dirty gold mining can damage the water supply because it is contaminated with toxic waste.
In addition to dangerous substances that are suspected of broken ecosystems. Such as cyanide, mercury, and other toxic substances that are regularly released into the environment due to dirty gold mining.
Large scale gold mining can result in the waste of more than 20 tons to obtain several grams of gold. The waste will be channeled directly into rivers that can contaminate water. That is contaminated with waste from cyanide heaps that are harmful to health.
Negative effects of mining on the environment
How gold mining affects the environment? Gold mining of large companies uses chemicals that are not environmentally friendly that are difficult to decompose.
So that it can pollute the supply of clean water, and if the water is consumed by humans can cause various diseases. While gold mining is carried out illegally by the community using mercury to deposit gold contained in water or mud.
The mercury used can go directly into the water so that it can also be carried by the water. Mercury that is carried by the water is hard to decompose so that it can form new compounds.
Compounds formed from mercury in the form of organic and inorganic compounds that can be absorbed by microorganisms in the water. Mercury compounds absorbed by these microorganisms cannot be described by microorganisms so that the body remains as mercury compounds.
As a result, these compounds can enter the food chain. If fish eat these microorganisms, these compounds will also enter their bodies.
The inclusion of these compounds will eventually enter and then settle in the body if humans consume fish that have been contaminated by mercury compounds it will impact to effects of gold mining on human health.
Mining gold in rivers by panning for water. Gold having weight will remain in the pan, while lighter minerals or stones will float. On a small scale, it may not have much effect on water, but large scale mining can have an extraordinary negative effect on water quality.
Gold is usually in ore and sediments that contain poisons such as mercury. When they dredge rivers to mine large gold deposits, these poisons float on the water and can pollute the water so that if they consume the water it already contains poison.
Large scale gold mining involves the removal of large amounts of land and rocks. And this can damage the habitat of the surrounding wildlife, this will disrupt their lives and can cause the extinction of animals.
In modern gold mining companies that dump toxic wastes into rivers the cause rush environmental damage.
This will disturb the fish habitat and because of the toxic waste contamination, the water can cause the fish to die, or even bring disease if humans consume the fish.
Gold mining accident and risk
Gold mining bad to the environment in several ways. For example, in mining operations with large equipment that requires fuel and that will produce greenhouse gas emissions.
Some large miners may have built dams to separate toxic waste into the dam. However, the potential for accidents and dam leakage will pose a greater threat to nearby land and water resources.
Toxic waste that has accumulated in the dam will gradually get bigger and eventually dump it into the sea which can damage the marine environment and its habitat.
If there is a structural failure the dam can also spread toxic waste widely. Or there is a disaster that causes damage to this dam will spread toxic waste widely.
Gold mining companies must operate wastewater treatment plants to remove cyanide, mercury, and other poisons from the toxic wastewater.
It has the aim of preserving the environment, however, if the installation does not work then leakage can also cause contamination of the surrounding environment. And this is the social impact of gold mining.
How to reduce the environmental impact of mining
Prevention of the adverse effects of gold mining can be in several ways.
This activity is to clean up contaminated soil surfaces. There are two types of land remediation, namely on-site and off-site.
- On-site cleaning is cleaning on the place. This cleaning method is very cheap and easy, by cleaning, ventilating (injection), and bioremediation.
- Off-site cleaning by excavating contaminated soil and then transporting it to a safe area. By the way, the soil then enters the waterproof tank, then pumps the cleaning material into the tank. Then, pumping pollutants out of the tub then enters the wastewater treatment plant. Off-site cleaning is far more expensive and complicated.
The second way is bioremediation
which is the process of cleaning up soil pollution using microorganisms (fungi, bacteria).
Bioremediation aims to break down or degrade pollutants into less toxic or non-toxic materials (carbon dioxide and water).
Third, the use of tools in golden incandescent to reduce Hg pollution.
The fourth way, conducting a preliminary study
Preliminary study as an effort to manage the environment and environmental monitoring efforts.
In this study by conducting an Analysis of Environmental Impacts and compiling policies relating to mining activities. Thus, before mining begins already have prepared to prevent impact from gold mining.
This study by monitoring and continue doing so that it can prevent pollution.
Positive effects of gold mining
Besides the negative effects of gold mining on the environment and health impacts, gold mining also has positive effects. In the area around mining can help overcome unemployment.
Mining companies can equip local workers with skills and training. Besides reducing unemployment it also helps gold mining companies to build a long-term workforce. In this developing country, there are still many people who need jobs to get a salary from their work.
Mining companies need many people, in the thousands. In 2013, gold mining absorbed the workforce of more than 162 thousand people in 15 companies that are members of the World Gold Council. The report even states that 16% of spending in the host country is wages and salaries paid.
Pros and cons of gold mining
Gold mining in some areas can cause controversy, there are pros and cons of gold mining. There is a relationship between environmental damage and corporate interests.
- Gold has always been a symbol of wealth, so its value from time to time will remain high. Even on 05 August 2020, the price of gold has reached $ 2044 per troy ounce.
- With the presence of mining companies, the social impact is absorbing local labor to reduce unemployment.
- The government in the mining area will get tax from the gold mining company.
- Damaged environmental impact, air pollution due to mining machines.
- Water pollution can damage the ecosystem damage to rivers where toxic waste is caused by the mining process.
- Can interfere with human health because it may consume food that has been contaminated by poisons due to mining.
1. Q: How does gold mining work?
Some methods of mining with open and underground mining, in practice some use mercury, and some use reagents or alcohol and lime-based materials.
As a substitute for mercury, there is an experiment using fibers to reduce mercury pollution.
2. Q: Is gold mining profitable?
Depending on the gold content of the mine area and the cost of mining property, if the property costs $ 500 and gets 1 ounce of gold after deducting operating costs can still be profitable.
3. Q: How many gold mines in Australia?
At present, there are 66 miners in Australia, 14 of which are the largest in the world, read the source.
4. Q: How many gold mines in India?
5. Q: Where is gold mining in South Africa?
Gold mining in southern Africa is located in the province of Gauteng, the miner is Mponeng, the deepest mine in the world from the ground.
6. Q: How many gold mines are in the US?
America is the third-largest gold producer after South Africa and Australia, from the New York Times, said that 80% of miners from Nevada with 20 active miners.
7. Q: When was the first gold mining?
There is no exact date when gold mining first began, but from the discovery of the oldest gold artifacts in Varna Necropolis of Bulgaria between 4700 and 4200 BC, from this discovery.
The conclusion gold mining began more than 7000 years ago.
8. Q: Who is the biggest gold mining in the world?
Grasberg, Muruntau, Goldstrike, Olimpiada, Lihir, Pueblo Viejo, Carlin, Kibali, Cadia East, Boddington, Source mining intelligence.
South Deep gold mine, South Africa, Grasberg gold mine, Indonesia, Olimpiada gold mine, Russia, Lihir gold mine, Papua New Guinea, Norte Abierto gold mine, Chile, Carlin Trend gold mine, USA, Boddington gold mine, Western Australia, Mponeng gold mine, South Africa, Pueblo Viejo gold mine, Dominican Republic, Cortez gold mine, USA, source Mining technology.
The impact of gold mining is a serious concern for large miners because they will produce thousands of tons of toxic waste every year.
This might be a two-sided sword, where the side of gold mining will provide a large profit, on the other hand, it has a negative impact on environmental sustainability.
Clear river water, if the toxic waste has polluted, this worsens the natural beauty of the river, and can also pollute water sources for consumption.
The use of mercury must be reduced or eliminated altogether so that the ecosystem remains sustainable.