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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

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.