In this period of its history, humanity, taking advantage of the achievements of technical, scientific progress, has touched and assimilated the use of the Ocean and the Cosmos. At the same time, it has been evident that some types of human activity harm the environment and that its consequences will be very dire in the future.
Every time we realize that humanity cannot and should not use its enormous power thoughtlessly, nor break into nature on a limited scale and radically remake it without considering the possible negative consequences of its economic activity.
The more transformations that occur in natural resources, the effects of the change in the biosphere as a result of productive activity cannot be ignored.
In-depth studies of the ecological situation indicate that, by continuing to influence it unilaterally and spontaneously to a considerable degree, humanity could turn our civilization into a purely technical creature that not only transforms deserts into oases but also transforms them.
Open-pit mining is an industry that causes immense environmental, visual, human, and cultural impacts; it is based on the exploitation of non-renewable resources found under the earth’s surface crust; its degree of impact will depend directly on the type of mineral that it is intended to extract.
There are various techniques to carry out mining activity. One of them, and on which we are going to deal is the application of chemicals to leach the land through cyanide, mercury, and sulfuric acid. These substances are highly toxic and are responsible for dissolving unwanted compounds to obtain the minerals you want to extract from the earth. It is executed in extensive land areas, creating large diameter craters and deepening as the process progresses.
The open-pit mining method generates enormous environmental impacts in the territory on which it is developed; some of these are:
- Damage to the earth’s surface destroys and changes the shape of the earth’s crust, forming large amounts of waste material, altering the local morphology.
- It pollutes the air; during this activity, large amounts of fine toxic “dust” are generated, made up of heavy chemicals absorbed by animals and humans.
- Contamination of surface waters, if chemical residues are not properly treated and stored, can seep into freshwater flows, contaminating them and reducing the life present in them.
- Damage to underground aquifers, contaminated waste is usually washed by rainwater, which seeps into the subsoil, causing contamination of underground water reservoirs.
- Impacts on flora and fauna, the excavation process eliminates all types of flora existing in the earth’s crust; in addition, the animals are driven away by noise, changes in their habitat, and contamination of water sources.
- Conflicts between communities and mining companies, neighboring communities are affected, and disputes may arise over the improper use of land, in addition to possible overcrowding due to the new source of work.
Visual changes, after the exploitation is finished, there are:
- Immense craters in the area.
- Reducing the attractiveness of the area.
- Negatively affecting tourism.
Polluted water basins are derived from the resource extraction process in an open-pit mine.