Analysis: Environmental Problems Caused by Mining
In a world driven by consumerism where the majority of products fail to be recycled, mining remains essential for providing resources to help economies grow and improve standards of living. However, is this causing us to dig ourselves a growing hole of environmental issues? We examine the biggest environmental problems caused by mining.
The mining and processing of minerals provides us with the building blocks required to form much of the infrastructure needed to support modern societies. In 2020, the top 40 mining companies had together accumulated a total revenue of USD$544 billion, which was up 4% on the previous year. Whilst demand for some resources such as coal is falling, other resources such as copper are seeing increasing demand as new products and technologies require different materials. For example, a single lithium-ion electric vehicle battery pack (a type known as NMC111) uses around 16kg of lithium, 46kg of nickel, 46kg of cobalt and 43kg of manganese.
Photo courtesy of Parolan Harahap.