Reclamation and environmental performance
Even though the environmental footprint of mining has decreased significantly during the last decades, mining operations may still affect the environment, and conflicts on land use are relatively common. The mining industry is a large energy consumer, often in the form of fossil fuels, and emissions of nitrogen from undetonated explosives is not uncommon.
To minimise the environmental impact, one challenge is to prevent the formation of acid rock drainage water from tailings containing sulphides, and to prevent such water from reaching the ground water or surface water.
Waste or resource?
New and improved methods for covering the waste from mining can be developed. The possibility of utilising mine tailings, traditionally considered as waste, as a resource and developing processes that can convert them into products must also be explored.
The environmental impact of mining should be sustainable and accepted by society. There are no harmful emissions and a large part of the residues from mining can be used as a resource. Reclaimed abandoned mine sites may contribute to an increase in biodiversity and space for recreation.