Environmental Impacts of Mineral Extraction

Environmental Impacts of Mineral Extraction

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  • Created on: 14-05-12 13:45
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The Environmental Impacts of Mineral Exploitation
Exploration of land can involve land clearance and vegetation loss.
Land impacts
Extraction may cause conflicts with other land users
Habitat loss
The loss of species where the mineral is to be extracted is unavoidable.
Removing of wildlife by capturing the animals and transplanting the plants to unthreatened
habitats has been tried but rarely successful ­ areas either unsustainable or overpopulated.
Habitat restoration when mining is finished is often carried out or new habitats may be
Loss of amenity
Mining can cause aesthetic problems for local communities.
This may be reduced by landscaping and tree planting
Raised into the atmosphere by blasting and vehicle movements.
Dust can be removed by water sprays
Mine vehicles and rock blasting are the two main sources of noise.
Embankments or `baffle mounds' built around the mine help absorb and deflect noise.
Turbid drainage water
Mining produces small particles that may be carried away in drainage water that would
increase the turbidity of the river.
Higher turbidity blocks sunlight from reaching aquatic plants.
Turbidity can be reduced by keeping it in a holding lagoon.
Toxic leachate
A toxic metal that is normally immobile in rocks may be oxidised in a spoil heap and become
Drainage water can then carry it into a nearby river as toxic lechate where it may kill aquatic
Spoil disposal
Spoil heaps ­ loosely compacted and instability can cause landslides or erosion
Drainage of rainwater by pipes in the base of the spoil heap prevents it becoming
Can be caused by drainage water if it is pumped out rapidly.
Risk can be reduced by contaminant in lagoons behind well constructed dams with carefully
timed releasers.
Caused by poor spoil compaction or undermining of sensitive surface land by deep mines.

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Can be reduced by compaction of spoil.
Traffic congestion
Road traffic from the mine can cause congestion and road traffic accidents.
Can be reduced by using routes that avoid urban areas or by building separate access routes
or using alternative methods i.e.…read more


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