Mining issues
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Mining Issues. “Digging up Trouble”. The Stakes. MINING = $$$$. Financing War. In many locations around the world mining is used to produce raw materials that are sold in order to finance War Examples include: Congo – Coltan and Cassiterite for use in electronics (tantalum)

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Mining Issues

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Mining issues

Mining Issues

“Digging up Trouble”


The stakes

The Stakes

MINING = $$$$


Financing war

Financing War

  • In many locations around the world

    mining is used to produce raw materials

    that are sold in order to finance War

    Examples include:

  • Congo – Coltan and Cassiterite for use in electronics (tantalum)

  • Sierra Leone – Diamonds

  • Angola – Diamonds

  • Zimbabwe – Diamonds

  • Nigeria – Oil


Creating conflict

Creating Conflict

  • Mineral Resources are often the source of conflict in many regions of the world. It is not uncommon for internal conflict to arise over the control of a particular mining resource.

  • In the Colonial Period of human history much of the world was settled and “conquered” in order to attain control over mining resources…. Most notably GOLD

  • In more recent times these conflicts have more commonly been centered around oil and gas deposits (Gulf War) and conflict minerals (parts of Africa)

  • Afghanistan – Saudi Arabia of Lithium???


Group mini activity

Group Mini Activity…

  • Using the class Ipads of your own technology identify a location somewhere in the world where mineral resources are currently, have recently or may soon instigate conflict.

    Answer the following and create a quick graphic using pic coallage:

    • Where?

    • Who?

    • Resource?

    • Solution/Resolution?


Displacing indigenous peoples

Displacing Indigenous Peoples

  • Around the world indigenous people continue to occupy many remote locations of our planet

  • Some of these areas are becoming sought after because of their mineral wealth

  • Many examples around the world can be found where traditional cultures, language and social structures are threatened by mining resource development

  • In extreme circumstances entire

    populations are displaced due to

    mining in an area

    **Lets look at “The Real Avatar”


Environmental degradation

Environmental Degradation

  • Mining can have a tremendous impact on natural systems.

  • As and extractive industry it by definition means a removal of material from the ground

  • In its most extreme iterations large tracts of natural vegetation are removed in order to allow for the large scale economic extraction of desired resources.

  • Open Pit mining and Mountain Top Removal are two of the most damaging mining techniques.

  • These practices have the potential to devastate ecosystems to the point where they are no longer able to sustain productive ecosystems leading to a loss of biodiversity and loss of wildlife habitat. These landscapes will NEVER be the same…..


Physical impacts

Physical Impacts

  • Depending on the type of mine the actual extraction of the metals will impact an area in the following ways:

    • removal of vegetation and topsoil

    • the displacement of fauna,

    • sedimentation of streams, rivers, wetlands, lakes, estuaries

    • Dust emissions (may be toxic)


Water pollution mine tailings

Water Pollution – Mine Tailings

  • The toxic mixture of debris left over after mining and mineral processing

  • Can have serious impact of local ecosystems and specifically ground water quality


Water pollution tailing ponds

Water Pollution – Tailing Ponds

  • In many mines pools of water contaminated with mine tailings create toxic reservoirs that threaten water security and if near major waterways can threaten the ecological integrity of large areas

  • These ponds are so toxic that flocks of migrating birds have been knows to die due to simply landing on their surface

  • Sometimes all that separates these toxic artificial lakes from natural waterways is a man made damn

  • If this damn leaks contaminants enter natural ecosystems

  • If this damn breaks large scale environmental destruction is iminent and may spread hundreds of kilometers from the source.


Water pollution acid mine drainage

Water Pollution – Acid Mine Drainage

  • Acid Mine Drainage occurs where minerals disturbed by mining begin to oxidize once exposed to air and water

  • Pyrite (fools gold) is a common mineral that will oxidize into Sulfuric Acid

  • Acidic water can then free up other heavy metals in the mine and create a toxic soup of pollution

  • The polluted acidic water in a flooded mine will leach or run off into a local stream

  • AMD is often rusty brown in colour because of its high concentration of oxidizing iron.


The sudbury story

The Sudbury Story….

  • During construction of the CPR blasting and excavation reveal high concentrations of Nickel-copper ore

  • Once the railway was complete extraction of the resource from this remote area became economically feasible

  • Since the late 1800s the Sudbury area has been one of the most significant mining areas in North America


Sudbury geology

Sudbury Geology

  • Ore deposits are part of a large geological structure called the Sudbury Basin believed to be the remnants of a 1.85 million year old meteorite impact crater

  • Nickel and Copper are the main metals extracted from the ore of the Sudbury Basin

  • Smaller amounts of cobalt, platinum, gold, silver, selenium and tellurium can also be found


The sudbury tragedy

The Sudbury Tragedy

  • The mining that occurs in Sudbury has significant ecological impacts

  • The most severe has stemmed from the fact that the ore bearing minerals are typically high in Sulphur

  • During the separation of metal from the ore (Smelting) large amounts of Sulphur dioxide are pumped into the atmosphere

  • Sulphur Dioxide then creates highly concentrated ACID RAIN!!!


Acid precipitation

ACID Precipitation

  • Acid precipitation devastated the local ecology early on and much of the area surrounding Sudbury effectively became a wasteland.

  • In 1972 INCO on of the largest mining companies in the area thought they had a solution to the problem

  • Build a super high smoke stack and send the pollution away from Sudbury

  • “The Solution to Pollution is Dilution”


What happened next

What Happened Next…

  • It worked!

  • Once the INCO Super Stack was in place and ecological recovery in the are immediately surrounding Sudbury began

  • Unprecedented “regreening” began, including liming of the soil, planting of 8.7 million trees and other natural vegetation

  • The pollution just went farther away and impacted a larger area

  • In 2010 only 3300 hectares of over 30000 hectares have been effectively regreened.


Types of mining

Types of Mining

  • Open Pit – minerals close to the surface essentially scraped away/dug up


Types of mining1

Types of Mining

  • Strip – shallow deposits are mined by removing overburden and cutting away the mineral seam. Common method for coal mining


Types of mining2

Types of Mining

  • Placer – The mining of alluvial deposits, usually uses water to separate minerals/gems/precious metals from the sediment


Types of mining3

Types of Mining

  • Underground – used when minerals are not close enough to the surface to utilize other extraction methods.


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