Concerns about the environment’s sustainability and general health make it difficult to see mining as a profitable business endeavour. With the world’s resources becoming less and less, even the mining industry has to look at greener alternatives while maintaining their services for different sectors.
Like any business process, mining has various methods that can be improved and adapted through advanced technology. Green mining emphasizes this procedure by discovering a new approach that minimizes mining waste and its damage to the environment.
Optimizing the Mining Industry’s Different Processes
Numerous technological advancements have been developed to reduce the ecological impact of different mining activities. For example, phytomining is an attempt to re-mine existing waste materials to upcycle valuable minerals and metals. Another process is to use electric motors over diesel solutions to reduce gas emissions by up to 70 percent. While these small changes may seem like individual improvements, each alternative contributes to a greener execution of mining processes.
In this article, we’ll share four modern approaches to green mining.
1. Dust-Suppression Techniques
A considerable amount of dust is released into the atmosphere during the mining process’ digging, excavating, and tunnelling activities. Once the dust is scattered in the air, the only way to remove them is through mist cannons, which substantially adds to logistical expenses. Thankfully, this can be minimized by several dust suppression techniques.
One method is to pre-wet the area with high-volume sprinklers. This will prevent dust particles from flying up in the air. Another process is to use open-pit mining techniques through earth fog cannons. While these tools may not come cheap, these devices can contribute to the greater good of preserving the environment’s condition.
2. Impermeable Tailings Storage
Once economically recoverable materials are mined from the earth, tailings are produced as unusable organic byproducts. These tailings are usually stored in a tailings pond for disposal. Unfortunately, this body of water can become polluted when mixed with various chemicals. This can then spread deep into the ground, compromising soil quality and harming nearby plant growth.
By developing impermeable tailing storage, the potential contamination of the surrounding environment is avoided. Additionally, this allows tailings to be handled and processed into a paste to refill mined slopes and minimize changes to the surrounding geographic condition.
3. Electric Mining Tools
The mining industry is shifting as electrification is quickly becoming a trend among mining equipment manufacturers. Instead of simple internal combustion through diesel-powered engines, electric engines are more complex but provide a cleaner, quieter, and safer operation in the workplace. This transition to electric-powered machines can be the first step to phasing out diesel-powered equivalents, effectively minimizing carbon emissions worldwide.
4. Ozone-based Treatment
Water is a natural resource used during the mining process, which amounts to over 15 million litres. Unfortunately, the used water becomes contaminated with salts and potentially radioactive materials. Through ozone-based treatment, water is oxidized by introducing a high voltage alternating current. This treats the mineral waste by acting as a sterilizer to filter harmful substances out of the water.
While it’s still too early to enforce the eco-friendly practices above to all mining operations, bringing up these developments is a step in the right direction. As the global revolution to protect the earth’s interest gains more followers and investors, the mining industry will soon modernize into a better and greener sector.
Companies need to think more progressively if they want to win over today’s consumers, so it’s necessary to work with business partners using innovative solutions. At Group 11 Technologies we’re looking ahead into the future by implementing modern mining practices in the present. If you want to learn more about environmentally friendly mineral extraction, contact us today!