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The Extractive Industries
Pages 13-26

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From page 13...
... To address the issue of sustainable development, defined by the World Commission on Environment and Development (1987) as "development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs," extractive industries, by locating new resources and developing more efficient means of extracting and processing the raw materials, enable future generations to enjoy the benefits of these resources.
From page 14...
... Although SMCRA caused hardships among the coal mining industry, often forcing smaller operators out of business, it has virtually eliminated the abuses of the past. Further, through imposition of a tax on current coal production, SMCRA is generating the funds necessary to address long-standing problems.
From page 15...
... ; cleanup of abandoned historical sites or problems (e.g., idle oil wells, depleted hard rock mines, contaminated aquifers, acid mine drainage, or visual impacts) ; · continual improvement in the classification and utilization of wastes; and · continual improvement in the recycling abilities of smelters.
From page 16...
... Some operations even take advantage of acid drainage to recover useful metals from the solution. Expenses devoted to environmental protection are coming to be perceived as wise investments rather than financial sinkholes.
From page 17...
... Use of artificial or enhanced wetlands to treat acid drainage is but one example of socalled passive technology that can address this problem. Reprocessing of historical waste using more efficient recovery methods can eliminate the source of acid rock drainage in some cases.
From page 18...
... . ENVIRONMENTAL REGULATIONS Most current regulations are based on command-and-control procedures that assume linear streams of production and disposal.
From page 19...
... This type of regulatory approach drives compartmentalized environmental thinking in industry rather than encouraging the systems approach characterized by industrial ecology. In mineral processing, as in most conventional heavy industries, environmental stewardship has often consisted of end-of-pipe emissions controls.
From page 20...
... In addition to being sensitive to the background chemistry of a site, regulations should be sensitive to other site features as well, such as grade, impurities, geometry of the ore body, and climate. For example, a mine that generates waste rock that is not acid producing would not need extensive water protection efforts, because acid drainage would not be a factor (Box 1~.
From page 21...
... Addressing these concerns effectively will require the mining industry to convince the public and government that current operations are environmentally responsible. Doing this will, in turn, depend on effective communication and public education.
From page 22...
... Some power plants are equipped with scrubbers to remove sulfur from the off-gases, but these scrubbers typically produce large volumes of sludges that must be disposed of. When the hard-rock mining industry is examined, the complexities are even greater.
From page 23...
... In addition, the remote locations of most resource deposits, combined with the low value of mining waste, limit the potential for selling waste products to other industries. Because the managers of extractive industries have limited control over the fate of their products, it might be more productive for them to think in terms of the life cycles of sites (e.g., mines or oil fields)
From page 24...
... If the "external" costs of producing virgin materials, such as loss of usable land or other forms of environmental degradation, are somehow taken into account, the extractive industry will pass these costs on to the users of the commodities. In the global metals market, these external costs must be applied on a global basis.
From page 25...
... There is no practical means of incorporating the consequences of exhausting finite global resources in the calculation of environmental costs. Yet, only by explicitly identifying potential environmental costs before projects begin can anticipated consequences be managed and designed for.
From page 26...
... For example, as a result of extensive communication efforts, Statoil was given permission to build its Europipe for delivering oil from the North Sea to Germany under the Wadden Sea, a rich natural area that is both a German national park and a United Nations biosphere reserve (Grann, 1997~. Long-term communication efforts should focus on educating representatives of government agencies and, especially, the public.


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