Mining and Its Impacts on the Environment

Extractives are the core functionalities of a material.

They’re the ones causing problems, and they’re the ones being changed so that changes can take place. It is a fact that extractives have been a significant force in material development. 

The modern industrial revolution was led by extractives and still is. The difference today is that extractives have been embedded in various information technologies (one example is video games), and social and environmental issues have become more intertwined than ever before. This has resulted in new concerns, some of which are already being addressed by the industry. The aim is not to re-invent extractives but to use them sensibly in a way that enhances industry performance while addressing new questions and adding value to society.

One of the most pressing issues in information technology is the use of extractives everywhere.

Face it: extractives are a part of everyday life, whether we realize it or not. A simple walk into any modern office will show you that employees these days spend much of their time inputting numbers into a computer, printing out documentation, inputting orders into a virtual data room software, documenting their results, storing work orders in a database…and so on. Addressing issues like waste, pollution, lack of recycling, and inadequate water usage, extractives in information technology are at the forefront of efficiency and environmental responsibility.

However, extractives have also had an impact on issues such as waste, pollution, and water conservation. A look at virtually any IT industry will show that extractives are used extensively. Extractive processes, including those used to extract raw materials and fuel, energy, and minerals from valuable natural resources, can have severe consequences for the environment and for the people that live alongside them. Extractives impact both the natural world and the people who work with these resources. These two intertwined factors have resulted in a long list of concerns around the world, issues that extractives have largely failed to address satisfactorily.

The negative impact that extractives have on society at large is perhaps nowhere more significant than in the case of waste.

Waste products created by extractives cannot be reused, making them a major contributing factor to the rising global waste problem. While it is recognized that technology is capable of addressing some of the waste problems, the reality is that extractives produce more waste than it can handle. In some cases there is insufficient waste disposal infrastructure in place, resulting in an increased volume of waste that must be transported and disposed of.

Extractives also play a large role in the environmental and social impacts they cause.

It is estimated that extractives processes produce approximately fifteen percent of the world’s solid waste. This is in addition to the direct waste caused by extractive processes, such as mineral processing, coal production, and wood production. The combined effect of these wastes and the associated issues has been described by some leading environmental groups as a major cause of global warming.

Extractive industries contribute to the environmental issues affecting the environment directly and indirectly as well. They contribute to air pollution, for example, by creating large amounts of waste that must be disposed of in a way that does not contribute to the environmental problems they have created, such as acid rain. They also indirectly contribute to environmental problems by contributing to the degradation of the global environment through the unnecessary use of valuable natural resources, such as fossil fuels and forests.

Extractive industries continue to lobby the government and international bodies to protect their rights to extract, particularly in relation to natural resources.

The expansion of the extractive industry represents a significant trend towards the increased extraction of natural resources and the furtherance of resource exploitation at the cost of environmental biodiversity and the environment itself. Governments should become alarmed at the alarming rate at which extractives are being taken over and ensure that appropriate legislation is introduced to control it. If the measures introduced do not succeed in controlling the increasing trend of the extractives industry then other means of reducing the impact of extractives on the environment should be tried, including regulation of mining processes. If a regulated mining law is in force then, it will ensure that the environmental impacts of mining do not exceed the costs and benefits to society.