What is it about?

Some people assume that mining is not environmentally friendly and that it cannot be part of a sustainable future. However, many renewable energies rely on mining. For example, systems for storing renewable energies rely on batteries, for which lithium has to be mined. Solar panels and wind turbines are also made, in part, of materials that come from mining. Therefore, mining will continue for many years yet, and we must work to make it as sustainable and as ethical as possible.

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Why is it important?

These renewable technologies form part of our ability to meet the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The SDGs are also trying to tackle poverty and hunger, and to bring about improvements in things like access to education and water. Mining companies often work in developing countries. Some are beginning to take more responsibility for the environment. They are helping local communities through activities like tree planting and water protection. KEY TAKEAWAY: Despite the common perception of mining being an environmental threat, there have been many changes towards sustainable development. The introduction of guidelines and protocols to address specific is-sues and improve accountability could lead to a sustainable and ethical approach to mining.

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This page is a summary of: Sustainable/responsible mining and ethical issues related to the Sustainable Development Goals, Geological Society London Special Publications, October 2020, Geological Society, DOI: 10.1144/sp508-2020-113.
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