Can We Preserve Our World Heritage Sites from the Damage by the Mining Industry?

Article is adapted from here.

In our quest for advancement, we lose sight of all that we forgo in the process. A plethora of our natural areas have been tarnished by the mining industry. UNESCO has designated many of these marvels as World Heritage Sites to preserve what is remaining for future generations to see. Twenty five percent of these sites still face risk of deterioration from past mining and drilling of the area.

As of 2003, fifteen of the largest mining corporations have agreed to not further their exploration into these protected sites. However, despite these efforts, a majority of active mining sites have been found to be located less than ten kilometres from the sites labelled ‘strictly protected’. This is predominant in the Pacific region.

Governments have shown their support towards tightening restrictions on the companies and implementing bans on operating in protected areas. However, for some less-developed countries, the opportunity cost of this is too much to bear. In Indonesia, the need for foreign investment to boost their economy, pressured the government to undercut their prior stance and issue permits for certain companies to mine wherever they see fit.

The protection of these natural areas from the mining industry is crucial. As aforementioned, conservation policies are not enough. The preservation of ecosystems is not prioritised and holds less precedence in legal proceedings, given the boundless scale at which nature is present. Conservation and mining as a result are difficult to combine when implementing laws, in the current way they are carried out.

There is a way both these juxtaposing elements can find synergy. ​​Clean Mining, a subsidiary of the Clean Earth Technologies Group, has a solution to replace toxic cyanide in the process with a non-toxic gold recovery reagent. This is beneficial to the wellbeing of people and the ecosystem as a whole. Their gold recovery sets a new ‘gold standard’, a revolutionary advancement for miners worldwide.