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Understanding Mining Environmental Explorations Mr. Luis A. Velazquez Mrs. Dianne Cohen.

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Presentation on theme: "Understanding Mining Environmental Explorations Mr. Luis A. Velazquez Mrs. Dianne Cohen."— Presentation transcript:

1 Understanding Mining Environmental Explorations Mr. Luis A. Velazquez Mrs. Dianne Cohen

2 What is mining? Mining is the extraction (removal) of minerals and metals from earth. Manganese, tantalum, cassiterite, copper, tin, nickel, bauxite (aluminum ore), iron ore, gold, silver, and diamonds are just some examples of what is mined. Environmental Science

3 Why mine? Mining is a money making business. Not only do mining companies prosper, but governments also make money from revenues. Workers also receive income and benefits. Environmental Science

4 Minerals and metals are very valuable commodities. For example, manganese is a key component of low-cost stainless steel. It is also used to de-color glass (removing greenish hues), but in higher concentrations, it actually makes lavendar-colored glass. Tantalum is used in cell phones, pagers, and lap- tops. Cooper and tin are used to make pipes, cookware, etc. Gold, silver, and diamonds are used to make jewelry. What are the minerals and metals used for? Environmental Science

5 Large scale mining Usually involves a company with many employees. The company mines at one or two large sites and usually stays until the mineral or metal is completely excavated. An example of a large scale mine is the Serra Pelada mine in Brazil which yielded 29,000 tons of gold from 1980 to 1986 and employed 50,000 workers (Kricher, 1997). Environmental Science

6 Small scale mining Usually involves a small group of nomadic men. They travel together and look for sites which they think will yield gold or another valuable metal or mineral. Small scale mining occurs in places such as Suriname, Guyana, Central Africa, and many other places around the world. Some researchers believe that small scale mining is more harmful to the environment and causes more social problems than large scale mining. Environmental Science

7 How does mining affect the environment? Mining is generally very destructive to the environment. It is one of the main causes of deforestation. In order to mine, trees and vegetation are cleared and burned. With the ground completely bare, large scale mining operations use huge bulldozers and excavators to extract the metals and minerals from the soil. In order to amalgamate (cluster) the extractions, they use chemicals such as cyanide, mercury, or methylmercury. These chemicals go through tailings (pipes) and are often discharged into rivers, streams, bays, and oceans. Environmental Science

8 How does mining affect the environment? Small scale mining is equally devastating to the environment, if not more. Groups of 5-6 men migrate from one mining site to another in search of precious metals, usually gold. There are two types of small scale mining: land dredging river dredging: Environmental Science


10 Mining in the World


12 Environmental Science



15 Land dredging involves miners using a generator to dig a large hole in the ground. They use a high pressure hose to expose the gold-bearing layer of sand and clay. The gold bearing slurry is pumped into a sluice box, which collects gold particles, while mine tailings flow into either an abandoned mining pit or adjacent forest. When the mining pits fill with water from the tailings, they become stagnant water pools. These pools create a breeding ground for mosquitoes and other water-born insects. Malaria and other water-born diseases increase significantly whenever open pools of water are nearby. Environmental Science

16 River dredging involves moving along a river on a platform or boat. The miners use a hydraulic suction hose and suction the gravel and mud as they move along the river. This creates problems for the river. The displaced gravel and mud disrupt the natural flow of the river. Fish and other living organisms often die and fishermen can no longer navigate in the obstructed rivers. Environmental Science

17 How does mining affect the people? The people who are exposed to the toxic waste from the tailings become sick. If the water is contaminated, the people can not use it for bathing, cooking, or washing their clothes. If the man of the household is a small scale miner, he often leaves his wife and children in search of work. This means that the wife and children must work and provide for themselves. They must also protect themselves from thieves. Cultural degradation also occurs in mining villages. For example, mining often destroys sacred sites and cemeteries. Environmental Science

18 Where does mining occur? Mining occurs in many places around the world, including the U.S. In South America, mining is particularly active in the Amazonia region, Guyana, Suriname, and other South American countries. In Central Africa, mining devastated a National Park called Kahuzi-Biega in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). South Africa is also very well known for mining diamonds. Mining also occurs in Indonesia and other S.E. Asian countries. Environmental Science

19 Mining Reclamation Success The Central Ohio Coal Company has been presented with a special Ohio Coal Reclamation Award for outstanding environmental improvement during reclamation of mined land. Environmental Science

20 What happens after mining? Environmental Science Reclaimed mine lands are often more attractive to wildlife and human uses than before mining started

21 Where minerals come from? Lime Russia, China Limestone U.S Micas U.S., Russia Nickel Russia, Canada Perlite U.S., Greece Platinum South Africa, Russia Potash Russia, Canada Pumice Italy, Greece Selenium Japan, Canada Silica Sand U.S., Netherlands Sillimanite South Africa Sodium Sulfate Mexico, Spain Sulfur U.S., Russia Talc Japan, U.S Tin China, Brazil Titanium Russia, Japan Trona (Soda Ash) U.S., Kenya Tungsten China, Russia Vermiculite South Africa, U.S. Wollastonite Germany, Great Britain Zeolites U.S., Tanzania Zinc Canada, Australia Zircon Australia, South Africa Lime Russia, China Limestone U.S Micas U.S., Russia Nickel Russia, Canada Environmental Science

22 Mining for Computers Aluminum, Antimony, Barite, Beryllium, Cobalt, Columbium, Copper, Gallium, Germanium, Gold, Indium, Iron, Lanthanides, Lithium, Manganese, Mercury, Mica, Molybdenum, Nickel, Platinum, Quartz, Rhenium, Selenium, Silver, Strontium, Tantalum, Tellurium, Tin, Tungsten, Vanadium, Yttrium, Zinc, Zirconium Environmental Science

23 Product from Mining Cosmetics: Iron, Silica, Limestone, Talc Desk: Copper, Iron, Zinc, Nickel Digital Alarm Clock: Boron, Copper, Gold, Quartz Doorknob: Iron Drinking Glass: Boron, Silica Electrical Cords, Outlet (electricity): Coal, Copper Glass: Silica Sand, Feldspar, Trona Lights: Aluminum, Copper, Beryllium (florescent), Tungsten (incandescent), Tin, Nickel Linoleum: Limestone, Clay, Wollastonite, Petroleum Products Magazine: Clay, Kaolin, Sodium Sulfate, Titanium Environmental Science

24 Product from Mining Paint: Titanium Oxide, Clays, Limestone, Mica, Talc, Silica, Copper, Fluorspar, Iron Tungsten, Zinc, Cadmium. Paper: Boron, Clay, Kaolin, Sulfur, Talc, Titanium, Trona Pencils: Graphite, Clays Pencil Sharpener: Iron, Copper, Zinc Pens: Limestone, Wollastonite, Mica, Talc, Clay, Silica, Petroleum Products, Sulfur Photograph: Chromium, Silver, Sulfur Environmental Science

25 Skateboard: Aluminum, Calcium Carbonate, Clay, Coal, Iron, Mica, Sulfur, Silica, Talc, Wollastonite Soda Can: Aluminum Telephone: Aluminum, Beryllium, Coal, Copper, Gold, Iron, Limestone, Silica, Silver, Talc, Wollastonite Television Set: Aluminum, Antimony, Barite, Beryllium, Cobalt, Columbium, Copper, Europium, Gallium, Germanium, Gold, Indium, Iron, Kaolin, Lanthanides, Limestone,Lithium, Manganese, Mercury, Mica, Molybdenum, Platinum, Rhenium, Selenium, Silica,Strontium, Tantalum, Tellurium, Terbium, Tin, Titanium, Vanadium, Yttrium, Zinc, Zirconium. Environmental Science

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