Topics: Mining, Gold, Chemical element Pages: 2 (492 words) Published: August 14, 2013
Mining refers to the process of extracting metals and minerals from the earth. Gold, silver, diamond, iron, coal, and uranium are just a few of the vast array of metals and minerals that are obtained by this process. In fact, mining is the source of all the substances that cannot be obtained by industrial processes or through agriculture. Mining reaps huge profits for the companies that own them and provides employment to a large number of people. It is also a huge source of revenue for the government. Despite its economic importance, the effects of mining on the environment is a pressing issue Effects of Mining on Environment Rainforests are the biggest source of oxygen, wood and medicines on this earth. Amazon rainforest is known for its alluvial gold deposits. Gold is found both in river channels and at the banks of the river after floods (floodplains). Hydraulic mining techniques are used for mining gold. The method involves blasting at the banks of the river. This has caused irreversible damage to trees, birds and animals. While separating the sediment and mercury from the gold-yielding gravel deposits, small-scale miners who are less equipped than industrial miners, may ignore release of some mercury into the river. This mercury enters the food chain through aquatic animals and their predators. Highly poisonous compound 'cyanide' is also used to separate gold from sediment and rock. In spite of all precautionary measures, it sometimes escapes into the surrounding environment. Those who eat fish are at greater risk of ingesting such toxins. Deforestation Before a site can be mined or excavated, the property has to be completely cleared of obstacles and this includes both man-made structures and vegetation. Deforestation reduces habitable areas for wildlife animals. Large scale deforestation activities can also pose a significant threat of extinction to rare and endemic species of flora and fauna. In cases of heavy floods, nearby communities are more...
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