Note: This article was adapted from this link and revised.
“If humanity knew the truth about gold mining, and how much harm it generates, things would begin to change.” Mariano Fiestas, a citrus farmer in the San Lorenzo Valley, the site of the proposed Tambogrande gold mine in Peru
Metals underlie virtually every product and service in our economy one way or another—food production, housing, transportation, medical care, you name it. Precious metals like gold can also serve as symbols of our deepest commitments.
It’s one thing to enjoy the benefits of metals, and something else entirely to damage millions of lives and destroy entire landscapes in the quest for minerals.
It is time to reform our “metals economy”, and we are already aware of the path reform must take.
We have to fundamentally rectify the way metals are produced, look for means to use metals more efficiently, and continue using metals already in circulation.
Mining metals is inevitable, but ultimately, the most vital extraction operations should occur in scrap yards and recycling centres instead of nature reserves and native lands.
Those are the long-term goals. But there are also things that the mining industry can and should do immediately. Some of them are:
- Provide safe working conditions and give workers rights to collective bargaining according to the International Labour Organisation’s eight core conventions.
- Hold back from projects that did not obtain free, prior, and informed consent of the communities concerned.
- Be transparent about the social and environmental effects of its projects.
- Permit independent reviews of social and environmental management practices.
- Steer clear of protected areas.
- Cease the disposal of mine waste into natural water bodies.
- Turn down projects expected to cause acid drainage.
Moreover, the industry’s current practices no longer make sense even from a conventional business perspective—investors are becoming increasingly concerned about the industry’s failure to adhere to these rather explicit legal and moral obligations.
From as early as December 2003, the World Bank engaged an independent commission to evaluate its investments in oil, gas, and mining; the commission proposed to the Bank to avoid financing any mining project that does not meet a set of basic criteria, including those listed above.
The growing sphere of Socially Responsible Investment (SRI) is also making it hard to support mining. For instance, the Calvert Group, an American SRI firm, had no holdings in any metals mining corporation as of January 2004 as no mining company met its criteria for corporate responsibility.
The industry is also highly susceptible to workplace accidents, chemical spills, and unguaranteed clean-up expenses, making insurance companies grow wary of the industry as well.
But gold mining operations can be in line with corporate responsibility efforts—they don’t necessarily have to culminate in environmental ruin.
Clean Mining, a part of Clean Earth Technologies, is transforming gold mining worldwide through safer, more environmentally responsible technologies. It sets a new standard for gold processing that is cyanide and acid-free.
The use of Clean Mining’s non-toxic gold processing reagent not only helps gold mining companies build their environmental sustainability efforts, but also provides workers with a safer working environment. In addition, this gold recovery reagent’s success rate in leaching gold from certain ores—e.g. carbonaceous—is 50% more compared to cyanide, resulting in a more efficient yield of metals.
Make the switch to Clean Mining’s gold processing technology now to tackle the greatest pains of mining.