1. Closing illegal and unregulated mines
In context with enforcing regulations and maintaining steadfast legislation regarding a mine’s behavior and processes, the strict and swift closing of illegal or unregulated mining activity will set an environmental precedent within the industry.
For example, before 2010, most mines in China were completely unregulated when it came to the environment and the shortcomings it was bringing to surrounding Chinese areas. After years of lax regulation and undisciplined treatment of illegal, unpermitted mines, China’s government responded to a wave of public protest and partly in its own self-interest enacted new policy measures for greener mining. These were codified in the Rare Earth Industrial Development Policy. The following regulations are the most important out of those now in practice, and they are being enforced to discourage illegal and environmentally careless mining. These measures are not yet all fully implemented in China, but the legal productivity and environmental impact are set to increase by two-fold thanks to the closure of the illegal activity, and the cultivation of the existing legal mines.
2. Improving environmental performance
Mining impacts the environment in unnatural ways, which not only disrupts its natural decaying process but also does more damage long-term than natural erosion processes. With exorbitant numbers of materials excavated and used daily, it is important to see that this destruction is actually going towards productive use.
By systematically examining environmental impacts and adopting measures to mitigate these impacts, it is possible to make mining less destructive of the environment. Incremental efficiency gains will not do the job. Instead, an imaginative remaking of the industrial world-one that aligns economies with the natural environment that supports them is the sustainable way forward. Recycling has a number of advantages. Canada’s offices like The Pembina Institute, the Natural Step and The National Office of Pollution Prevention are all behind these huge pushes towards not only monitoring mining manufacturing performance but environmental performance as well.
3. Building from reusable waste
Not only can mining present a hazard to the environment, but it can also be seen as a toll on public health if appropriate measures are not taken to ensure that the mining process is being done as safely and efficiently as possible. Case studies from mines around the world have provided numerous success stories of corporations and private mines alike being able to build new construction and infrastructure from the reusable materials that a mine site presents. For example, aluminum can be substituted as a recyclable material rather than using bauxite ore, which is a rarer and less reusable item.
By noticing the small details of the products used and generated in a mine site, the mining industry can make strides towards being a more sustainable industry. Tricks like recycling copper, which takes seven times less energy than processing ore, recycling steel which uses three-and-a-half times less energy than ore, can go a long way in determining the longevity of a mine and its positive environmental impact.
4. Investing in research and development of Green Mining Technology
The mining industry is one that is always in need of proper research and development in order to make sure the industry to ever-changing with today’s commitment to sustainability and turning the world into a more “green friendly’ place. Through either state of federal agencies, collecting funding and allowing that funding to be dispersed into ROD funds for Green Mining can be one way to positively impact the environment before and after mining projects. By pushing the envelope and never letting the future slip too far from reach, staying ahead can prevent unnecessary waste in the sense of less reusable materials, better efficiency and a better-understood industry.
5. Improving the efficiency of manufacturing processes
By targeting the goal of closely monitoring the standard mining supply chain, mining industry giants will be forced to confront the ways in which a company can improve its efficiency by seeing exactly where the organization is lacking in terms of sustainability and green mining initiatives. This supervision of the manufacturing process is essential in order to develop new ways of thinking, new metrics, and new management/supervisory tools that will help cushion the transition into more efficient and less environmentally-harmful patterns of resource use in modern societies.
Organizations like The World Resources Institute are currently conducting research on the most frequently used resources and materials, in order to better understand how the industry can conserve its non-renewable materials. The WRI has been working towards developing a database, and can now indicate the flow of materials through industrial economies. Material flows analyses will track the physical flows of natural resources through extraction, production, fabrication, use and recycling, and final disposal, accounting for both the gains and losses occurring throughout the supply chain.