There are many ways to mitigate the effects of mining on the environment. Mining companies should use sustainable equipment and waste disposal procedures and try to replenish the area after the mining process is complete. This will leave the area habitable and ready to return to its natural state after the mine has closed. Using renewable energy sources and reducing output are other options that mining companies can consider. However, these methods are not always economically viable.
The first and the most obvious solution is to recycle. Mining has one of the highest water recycling rates in Canada, reducing its water intake by 33 percent. Water scarcity has exacerbated the negative effects of mining, but the industry has taken action to address the issue. In addition, afforestation is an important way to reduce the environmental impact of mining. Trees protect water bodies from pollution and act as natural protectors.
Another way to reduce the effects of mining is by using biosolids to replenish depleted topsoil. This soil can regenerate plants within 12 weeks. Biosolids can also be used with other rehabilitative techniques, such as filling in the excavated area with waste rocks. There are several other ways that mining companies can minimize the disruption caused by mining. Companies such as Alcoa have implemented large-scale reforestation schemes to minimize environmental impact.
The pollution from mining causes many problems, including contamination of air and water. Besides contaminating the air and groundwater, mining practices also endanger wildlife and habitat. Mining operations also leave behind a permanent scar on the landscape. These environmental issues are particularly acute in the Western United States, where modern mines have resulted in a significant level of environmental damage. In Silver Valley, Idaho, for example, residents have been forced to abandon their homes due to the contaminated water. Furthermore, contaminated water supplies have led to massive fish kills in the Red River and Alamosa River. Further, some mine pit lakes in California have become home to hundreds of migratory birds.