Environmental effects

Lesson 4: Mineral resources

Environmental effects

  • The mining, processing, and use of resources require
    enormous amounts of energy and often cause land

  • Mineral industry is a major contributor to air and water
  • pollution and to emissions of greenhouse gases.
  • The grade of an ore – its percentage of metal content – has
    an impact on metal mining; it takes more money, energy
    and water to exploit lower grade ores.

  • Exploring the minerals involve geophysical surveys,
    drilling and trenching lead to camp garbage, road erosion,
    habitat disruption, and noise pollution.

  • Mining and milling operations lead to wildlife and fisheries
    habitat loss, changes in local water balance, sedimentation,
    and heavy metal leaching from acid mine drainage.

  • Smelting and refining activities lead to sulphur dioxide
    emissions contribute to acid rain.

  • Even mine closure activities would be causing revegetation
    failure, wind borne dust, seepage of toxic solutions into
    ground and surface water contamination from acid mine

  • Roads and unlimited access to mines have a negative impact on wilderness areas in 4 ways:
    1. Habitat fragmentations as roads disrupt movement and migratory routes.
    2. Collisions between vehicles and wildlife occur. Roads allow uncontrolled hunting and increased wildlife mortality
    3. Degradation and sedimentation of streams and river beds.
    4. Pollutants in pristine areas.

Minerals are non-renewable resources. Minerals are obtained from the earth through the process of mining. Minerals are much localized in their occurrence. No country within its own boundaries has adequate production and reserves of all the minerals needed for its industrial development. India is largely self-sufficient in coal, bauxite, iron and manganese ore. The mining, processing, and use of resources require enormous amounts of energy and cause serious environmental effects like land disturbance, air and water pollution, habitat fragmentation, increased wildlife mortality and stream sedimentation.

Last modified: Wednesday, 28 December 2011, 8:31 AM