Sustainability in the Mining Industry


The true sustainability of mineral resources and the mining industry is a complex concept and involves new technologies, economic considerations exploration social and environmental issues and scientific knowledge. Predicting future sustainability in the mining industry is not a simple task.

For all mining companies, sustainable practices are said to be at the core of their license to operate. Many mining companies report annually on sustainability performance, facilitating an analysis on sustainability in relation to production practices.

The mining industry is an important driver of electronic vehicles, global revolutions and renewable sources of energy, and should be constantly looking to improve its sustainable working practices. Energy efficiency, resource scarcity and climate change are all common topics which need to be considered in day to day operations within the mining industry. Many mining companies have come to realise the importance of these issues and acknowledge their need to operate in socially responsible and environmental way, in order to be economically viable.

Water is a scarce resource, and a necessary element for consideration for all mining companies. With operations in remote areas there is room for innovation and progression with consumption of natural resources, implementing renewable resources in production and trying to commit to sustainable working practices. Innovation of re-using, reducing and recycling water is important to remain at the forefront of progression for mining companies. This has resulted in the development of the concept of desalination plants to make use of salt water resources rather than depleting scarce fresh water sources.

Electric vehicles and renewable energy has also had a large impact on the demand for metals in the mining industry. In response to the increased demand for electric vehicles, companies are now faced with the task of sustainably mining and sourcing renewable energy and the raw materials will needed to fulfil the needs within the industry.

Sustainable development for mining companies should be focused on for the future development of the industry being viable rather than the legal or reputational aspects, to further increase the innovative design of the organisation as well as the economic return.