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Ways Mining Operations Can Reduce Costs and Environmental Impact

“Article by Alaska Structures”

In the 1990s, more than 75 countries adopted new or modified mining policies and mining-operationslegislation in order to promote foreign investment and to create a regulatory climate attractive to the international mining community. However, the impact of mining on the environment can be substantial unless it is properly managed. Agencies that regulate mining operations use a multitude of guidelines to protect the environment and to encourage sustainable mining.

All phases of mining can impact the environment. To minimize the damage caused by mining operations, sound environmental practices must be in place and followed. Training programs can help both mine staff and government officers learn key aspects of these practices. In addition, there should be a continuous improvement process that allows mining operations to raise their performance over time and also targets environmental concerns, simultaneously.

Increasing Managerial Functions
Today, the trend toward a preventive approach is increasing. Larger mining corporations are now implementing codes, standards and guidelines to help increase performance, but not at a cost to the environment. Regulators and company managers use environmental auditing as an action tool, which can focus on sources of pollution, energy, wastes, contaminated land and more.

Safety regulations are in place to ensure the safety of the miners, but also of the environment. An explosion can cause fatalities, but it can also create a site that has disturbed the surrounding area. Wood, steel or brick-and-mortar buildings have a greater impact on the environment than fabric structures. Generally, fabric structures have lower construction costs and shorter build times compared to traditional buildings. Mine waste disposal requires comprehensive plans that meet current laws and regulations. These are just a few aspects to consider in terms of how mining operations affect the environment.

Cutting Mining Operation Costs
It can be difficult to minimize expenses in a mining operation because the budget depends on raw material costs and labor. One large portion of a mining budget is diesel. Consistently seeking the most competitive unit price is important because the best prices are always moving. Off-road fuel rebates can help return money to your budget, too.

Minimizing equipment downtime is another area where many mining operations can save a substantial amount of money. A reduction of 20 percent in downtime can increase productivity by up to 30 percent. Preventative maintenance can eliminate time-consuming and expensive equipment repairs.

Mining structures can also be a significant expense. Instead of trailers or other similar buildings, consider fabric structures for mining. Because this type of building system is designed for portability, versatility and energy savings, both small and larger-scale mining operations can benefit from the cost savings.

Reducing energy consumption fundamentally helps reduce costs for mining operations. It can also help support compliance with environmental regulations while improving overall productivity. Using “what-if” plans, for specific steps in energy intensive mining operations, can be used to schedule operations at off-peak times when energy costs are lower.

Closing Thoughts
Implementing ways of lowering the environmental impact of mining operations must be a continuous process. As technology advances and the world places more emphasis on industry and the environment, new ideas and techniques will continue to reduce the negative effects of mining, while lowering mining costs. The two can go hand-in-hand with the correct, progressive approach.


Article by Rory Bailey







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