By Daniel Pavela
Almost all mining have many environmental and ethical issues, this includes Iron. According to Lisa Sumi, mining iron ore causes carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide, nitrous oxide and more forms of pollution. This causes climate change, which has many negative effects. (Lisa Sumi, last updated May 2001) Mining iron also has ethical issues. According to Brooke Castell, “Iron Ore mines require a lot of space, causing deforestation, more air pollution and destroying of habitats. One main concern is the dust that can be produced from the mining of Iron Ore. This dust enters the atmosphere and can cause health issues for workers and nearby residents.” (Brooke Castell, last updated not stated)
While it is ambitious, mining asteroids in space for minerals is possible in the near future and will resolve most of the current issues with mining on earth. By mining asteroids in space, the earth will be unharmed and there will be less air pollution, destroying habitats and deforestation. According to Kurzgesagt, “Even relatively small metallic asteroids may contain trillions worth of industrial materials” (Kurzgesagt, last updated August 2020) This shows that mining asteroids for resources such as iron could be economically viable in the future.
Rehabilitation is the process of returning land to a degree its original state, after a destructive process such as mining, natural disasters, etc. Rehabilitation is very important to the environment as land can be re-used for farming which is beneficial for the economy and it helps the natural ecosystem recover. (Minerals Council of Australia, last updated February 2016) Furthermore, according to Environment Victoria, “Mine rehabilitation will also create hundreds of secure jobs. Our report estimates it could create between 450-600 long-lasting jobs in the Latrobe Valley” (Environment Victoria, last updated not stated)
Once the resources have been extracted from a mining site, the site is rehabilitated. Steps include:
- Understand the environment, are the soils low in nutrients?
- Select an appropriate plant species. If soil conditions are poor, it should be improved.
- Do the groundwork, if the site is prone to erosion, choose the correct erosion control material.
- Install a soil improver, erosion control and plant seeds.
- Inspect and maintain the area.