Mining involves the extraction of valuable minerals from the earth surface. Mining can either be surface mining or sub-surface (underground) mining. Mining not only beneficial to the surrounding community and public in general, but it can also pose a lot of risks to the surrounding community. Let’s look at the pros and cons of mining in an area.
1. Job creation: Mining process results in the creation of job opportunities to the local people and attracts other professionals in the market.
2. Boost business activities: Mining results in the rise of business activities and the rise of per capita income. This results in a higher human development index due to increased life expectancy and per capita income.
3. Enormous earning: Mining for exportation purposes results in high enormous earnings to people working in the mines and boost the financial sector.
4. Extract essential sources of energy: Mining results in the extraction of raw materials like oil, coal, gas, iron ores, and minerals providing efficient use of energy.
5. Development of social amenities: Mining in an area facilitates the development of social services like schools, healthcare, water for the employees working in the area and their families.
6. Development of infrastructure: It leads to the development of the means of transport and communication in the area. The extracted raw materials need to be transported for further processing leading to improved means of transport.
7. Steer technological development: Advanced mining tools are used to safely create underground subway tunnels and pipes. Earth-moving technologies and environmental control systems are also needed to manage water flow, temperature, and airflow in mining areas.
8. Provides essential resources: Mining provides us with essential goods and services for use in our everyday life like the cookware and electronic components.
9. Spur economic growth: Selling of gold, coal, other mined materials, and job opportunities boost the economic growth of the country. It leads to the generation of income to the local government which directly contributes to the economic growth.
10. Environmental stewardship: Advanced technological tools are being used in the mining sector to safeguard environmental impacts. It also promotes environmental awareness through rehabilitation programs in the mining areas.
1. Water pollution: Mining results in contamination of the soil and groundwater from the chemicals in the mining zones. Contaminated groundwater can flow to rivers or lakes contributing to water pollution.
2. Leads to deforestation: Mining in a certain area leads to deforestation as trees are cleared to pave way for the mining activity. The clearing of trees or forests contributes to climate change.
3. Cause landslides: Improper and illegal mining in an area can result in some natural calamities like landslides and floods which can cause death to animals and people.
4. Affects aquatic life: Contaminated water from mining zones affects aquatic organisms (both micro and macro organism). It also affects the growth and health of terrestrial organisms like animals and vegetation.
5. Acid rock drainage: Sub-surface mining require water to be pumped out of the mine to avoid any flooding. If the water is not pumped out, it results in the creation of acid rock drainage issue.
6. Destruction of the ecosystem: Clearance of the mining area and destruction of large portions of the forests lead to soil erosion in the area.
7. Loss of biodiversity: Any illegal mining can affect the current biodiversity of the area. It affects animal and plant species in a particular habitat.
8. Danger to people: The mine are very dangerous and they weaken the structure above or around the area. Mine shaft can collapse causing death to people underground.
9. Harmful to human health: The miners can suffer from some skin diseases, lungs, and respiratory problems which are caused by the chemicals released in the air and water from the mining zones.
10. Heavy metal contamination: Water from the mines may contain metals like lead, cadmium, and other heavy metals which can contaminate the groundwater.