For many years, the mining industry has been labeled as the worst environmental polluter. The industry is now tirelessly working to try and shed this infamous reputation by developing greener technologies that make its sublevel caving operations more energy efficient and have fewer harmful impacts on the environment.
Underground mining technology has been evolving as it has been the largest consumer of power as well as water. The numerous equipment used normally require diesel which is one of the leading contributors of environmental pollution. Here are some of the ways in which green technology is making the mining industry more energy efficient and sustainable.
1. Rehabilitating old and abandoned mines
Abandoned mines have been a great problem since most companies are not in a position to return these mines to their former glory. Mines are dangerous areas especially to children, teenagers and other thrill seekers. There have been numerous cases of mine accidents and this can be averted by the proper rehabilitation of these areas. One of the methods being used is soil recovery and replanting trees in these mines. Organic wastes are also being used to fuel energy crops such as canola and corn. Dams can also be built and used to produce water for numerous functions.
2. Liquid Membrane Emulsion Technology
The liquid membrane emulsion underground mining technology commonly abbreviated as LEM is a separation procedure that is used to extract useful material from the acidic or highly toxic wastes that are produced during the mining process. This procedure has both chemical and biological use and can even work on dilute solutions. It is also used when transporting biochemical material in the mining field.
3. Managing Tailing Properly
Tailing normally consists of the radioactive elements and hence proper care must be taken into account. In the mining industry, tailing storages are huge and if not properly managed can result in serious environmental consequences. The tailing storages therefore have to be impermeable enough to prevent the leakage of these hazardous wastes. This can be through the use of several layers to reduce the effects. Also, dehydration method can also be used to convert the tailings into a paste that will lessen leakage effects.
4. The Surface Miner 2200
Most of the pollution comes from underground mining. This is why the industry has resulted in the surface miner 2200 which will no longer involve drilling and blasting. This procedure will follow eco-friendly technology that will improve cost effectiveness as well as the mining quality. It will also play a huge role in protecting the environment especially from the heavy vibrations and noise pollution created during underground mining technologies.