Rapid advances in technology are changing every industry and the mining industry is no exception. New technologies are being developed every day and some of these have the potential to reshape the sector. The best part of it is that these technologies don’t only make mining more effective but they also help preserve the environment. But, how exactly do these new technologies help mining protect the environment? Read on to find out.
Increasing mine safety
There’s no need to say that working in a mine can be dangerous. Luckily, some of the newest technologies can help protect miners and create a safer environment for them to work in. For example, drones are now being used to inspect mines instead of having people go in when there could be potential health hazards inside. Drones can also help monitor the mine and act quickly in case someone gets injured. Visit DroneLife to find out more about drones and how they’re used in various industries. Also, technology is used to detect illegal and unregulated mines and save miners in them from getting hurt in case something goes wrong.
Large amounts of wastewater are produced by mining activities every year. This is why engineers have developed zero discharge water programs that allow mining companies to make their wastewater viable for reuse. Their goal is to bring the ratio of wastewater disposed of and wastewater ready for reuse to zero and it seems like they’re on the right track. This doesn’t only help keep the net water usage level low but also saves mining companies large amounts of money. The most common methods used for making wastewater ready for reuse are crystallization and vacuum evaporation.
Turning quarries into habitats for animals
The term quarry refers to any place were rock, gravel, sand, and other materials are removed from the ground. Not so long ago, inactive quarries were only used as landfills but with the use of technology, experts now turn these into habitats for animals, making the quarrying industry greener. If you want to learn more about quarrying and what happens with inactive quarries, turning to the Institute of Quarrying Australia is a good idea.
Extracting copper in an eco-friendly fashion
Extracting copper is a very difficult process. In fact, extracting it is only commercially viable if there’s an area rich in it. Luckily, advances in technology have allowed scientists to come up with a technique called biotechnology. This technique allows mining companies to extract copper more quickly and using less energy. Basically, biotechnology does the very same thing that happens in nature if left untouched. Microorganisms liberate copper from rocks and release it in a liquid form. These liquids are then transformed into solid copper through an electrochemical process.
Revisiting old tailings
A few centuries ago, miners used to search for gold, silver, and copper but have left something of great worth in their tailings – earth minerals. These minerals are used to create gadgets we all have and for building renewables. Some old tailings have already been searched and large amounts of earth minerals have been found. Of course, the biggest difference between modern mining companies and miners from a few centuries ago is the equipment they use.
Using hybrid diesel-electric loaders
Loaders that can shift tonnes of ore play an extremely important role in mining activities. However, they are being fueled by diesel, making them huge underground atmosphere polluters. Mining companies even have to use ventilation to counteract the pollution caused by their loaders. Luckily, machines are evolving as well and we recently got to see first hybrid diesel-electric loaders being released. These things still need diesel in order to operate but the amount of gas they emit is significantly lower. This also helps reduce the amounts of energy required to ventilate mines. The mining industry is one of the sectors that have to follow the trend of going green and makes the most of technologies that allow it to do so. With the amounts of gasses emitted, wastewaters disposed, and energy used in the field, there are plenty of opportunities for mining companies to work towards making their operations greener. Although the mining industry is already more eco-friendly than it was a few years ago, we can only expect experts to keep coming up with new ways to make mining greener.
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