What is mining?
Mining is the act of excavating minerals and other resources from the ground. Canada's main mined products are gold, silver, platinum, as well as diamonds. Canada also mines base metals, iron, copper, lead, zinc and nickel. We mine coal and uranium for energy and finally, we mine limestone, rock salt, potash and gypsum for industrial uses.
Limestone is used in the making of glass, cement, iron and quicklime. Rock salt is mainly used in the chemical industry. The extracted chlorine and caustic soda has multiple uses for other industries and products. Potash is used in fertilizer, animal feed as well as soap. Gypsum is used in the manufacturing of wallboard, cement and plaster of Paris ( a large gypsum deposit in Montmartre Paris). The mines themselves are massive. The Kidd Creek copper and zinc mine, located near Timmins Ontario, extends up to 2,927 meters making it the eighth deepest mine in the world. Almost as big as it's economics benefit.
Did you know that mining gives approximately 375,000 people jobs in Canada? It is also the largest citizen sector employer to Aboriginals and is expected to grow. In 2014, it contributed $57 billion to the Canada's GDP (This stands for Gross Domestic Product), was accountable for 18.2% of Canada's value of goods for that year, and the industry payed $71 billion in taxes and royalties to Canadian federal and provincial governments from 2003-2012. This makes sense seeing as how it's one of the most highest paying jobs in Canada, tied with forestry.
Back in history, "high-grade" ores were mined with a pick, shovel or they used water separation techniques mainly done by one miner or a small group. But as the accessibility of those ores declined, investments on more elaborate technological techniques were sought out. These include dredging and hydraulic mining, Washing away sediment with highly pressurized water.
The mined minerals are then brought up by conveyer belts to the surface.
Problems from mining include environmental as well as health risks for the miners. The environmental issues are that for open pit mining are that when the hard rock mining process happens, rocks that have been unexposed for eras surface. In some cases, when these rocks are crushed they expose radioactive elements. This is harmful for the environment as well as the miners. in fact, it is estimated that 12,000 people die each year due to mining accidents.
Ways that we can increase the sustainability of mining are to find safer ways to mine. By reducing the amount of deaths, we would have a more appealing form of labour. With more workers, the extraction process would be more efficient. The truth is however, the mining industry only lasts as long as there are desirable minerals to be found. Therefor, we should find alternate substances to substitute rare ores.