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Why sustainability is key to mining safety

mining safetymining safety
mining safetymining safety

 

Why sustainability is key to mining safety

Mining is one of the most harmful industries to the environment. Not only does it have a lasting negative effect on the environment, but it also has potential health risks for miners. Therefore, the mining industry needs to adapt to more sustainable and safe practices. Not only for the environment but to create a safe and healthy working environment too.

When practising sustainability, three pillars need to be put into consideration. Those three pillars are economic, environmental and social. Those three pillars are also informally known as the three “Ps”.

The three “Ps” are profits, plant and people. Sustainability encourages business in all industries to come up with plans that do not only look at a company’s profit and loss. Instead, it needs to think about how the business is contributing to the wellbeing of its people and planet.

Practising sustainability in mining will have many safety benefits, and there are a few ways that mine owners can incorporate sustainability. A few examples would be to close unused and illegal mines, invest in researching for mining developments, improve their manufacturing processes and having mine water treatment plants.

All these factors can help mines take the next step in the right direction. To understand why and how sustainability is key to mining safety, read the article below.

 

Water treatment in mining has helped reduced water contamination

As we all know, mining uses a large amount of water during their manufacturing processes. Not only do they use a large amount of water, but their methods contaminate drinking water. Once the water is contaminated, it is no longer safe for consumption for animals, plants and humans.

For mines to be sustainable, it is beneficial for owners to hire a water purification company. Purification companies are equipped to find a water and wastewater treatment solution. When mines have a water purification specialist, it is easier to find a water treatment solution which will treat your wastewater and lower your water usage.

Mines can reuse and recycle their water once it has gone through a wastewater treatment process. Because once the wastewater has been purified, the water is safe enough to be discharged into the environment or back into manufacturing processes.

 

New technology can reduce miner fatality and health issues

One of the most dangerous parts to mining is shaft sinking, which involves processes like drilling, blasting and cleaning. In most cases, it requires heavy machinery. This manufacturing process exposes mine workers to health and safety risks like rockfalls, health implications, onsite accidents and fatality.

Going underground has severe health implications for miners. It can cause lung disease when miners breath in coal dust or carbon. Other known health implications are cardiopulmonary disease, obstructive pulmonary disease, hypertension, and kidney disease. Although mining isn’t the safest job, there are technology advances that can be put in place to improve the safety of miners.

Different technologies can be introduced to ensure safety. For example, there can be control and monitoring technologies for methane and dust. That way, any explosions can be detected prior to any miner shift.

But with technology, mines can introduce remote-controlled machinery which can help lower workers’ risks as they won't be in contact with dangerous activities. With today’s technology, mines can operate shaft sinking machinery remotely. It is important that new mining incorporates safe jobs and, thanks to the latest technology improvements, mining fatalities have dropped by 86% since 1994.

 

Promotes a better quality of life

Through sustainable practices, South African mining has built a more inclusive and robust human rights culture that promotes and values workers’ safety.  It is important to take a holistic approach to sustainability, by ensuring mine workers are taken care of when it comes to housing, transport and family-related issues so that they can focus on their work.

 

Conclusion

Sustainability is crucial in all industries. It is beneficial for the environment. It can help cut down costs of energy, water and waste. Sustainability can help retain and motivate your employees once they see that you care for them and the environment rather than just your bottom line. Lastly, it will also shine positivity in the mining industry, commonly known for causing harm to the environment. Having sustainable practices can help change the narrative of the mining industry.

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