Mining is a lucrative business. It promises big profit margins for mining companies while providing employment opportunities for its employees. However, it cannot be all good. There is still bound to be an ugly side to mining that most people don’t know about.
Find out more about both sides of the coin here.
Of course, there are visible benefits of mining activities to communities, including more jobs and increased spending for families located in these communities. Economic activity can also take off because of mining activities.
- More Jobs
Most mining communities are located in remote, far-flung areas most businesses usually won’t dare invest in. These communities have a low-income profile and limited access to healthcare, education, and other basic needs. Moreover, people living in these communities are often engaged in agricultural jobs. Mining provides people in these communities another choice for making a living. Suddenly, there are more jobs available for the non-disabled men in the city.
- Increased Spending For Families
Miners’ immediate families will benefit from increased budget allotted for household needs. Children will be able to study in schools. Families are now able to buy necessary home appliances and electronic gadgets. During weekends, families have increased spending power to go to town and eat in restaurants.
Mining activities can make these economic activities more feasible for families located in mining communities.
On the other hand of the spectrum, negative aspects of mining are present. These factors include environmental degradation, displacement of communities, and possible exploitation of workers.
- Puts Community At Risk
Large-scale mining can fully exhaust a site’s natural resources. Miners often have to use equipment to dig deep into the soil. It takes years to get the topsoil and vegetation back to its original state. However, if mining companies neglect to remove all kinds of waste and restore the site properly, communities around the mining area are put at risk.
In this age of climate change, no one is exempt from feeling its effects. Because most mines are located near mountaintops, improperly reclaimed mines can help cause landslides in the area. This factor will directly affect surrounding mining communities. Many lives may be in danger.
- Displaced Communities
Before the mining operations can start, existing communities in the mining site have to be relocated. This setup can be problematic for these existing communities. They may have called that place as their home for decades. But because of the request of mining companies, they have to relocate so suddenly. This sudden relocation may escalate into conflict if not adequately resolved.
- Possible Exploitation Of Workers
Miners often work in harsh conditions for days, and their workstations are mostly underground. Workers endure the workload, sometimes without proper safety gear to be able to provide for their families.
Some workers even have to stay onsite for weeks. Workers have to endure homesickness because they are required to work for 3 or 4 weeks without going home to their families.
Mining activities bring with it both positive and negative effects on its surrounding communities. For its positive impact, miners employed by mining corporations now have a regular source of income.
Their families are now able to enjoy a higher standard of living they couldn’t previously gain access to. Miners’ children now have the opportunity to go to formal schooling and get themselves out of poverty. Moreover, economic activity in mining communities may drastically spike up due to the increased spending power of families.
On the other hand, it is also worthy to note that there is also an ugly side to mining and its effects on the community. Mining communities are exposed to increasing environmental degradation. Due to climate change, surrounding communities are put at risk of death. Lush forests have to be cut down to accommodate mining activities.
To mitigate the adverse effects of mining on communities, both mining companies, as well as governments, have to be proactive in restoring closed mines. Finally, both parties have to be vigilant in protecting open mines from further destroying the environment.