Mining and Water Pollution

Water is essential to life on our planet.

Increasingly, human activities threaten the water sources on which we all depend. Unfortunately, the law and technology to protect this vital resource remains far from perfect.

Mining by its nature consumes, diverts and can seriously pollute water resources.

Negative impacts can vary from the sedimentation caused by poorly built roads during exploration through to the sediment, and disturbance of water during mine construction. Water pollution from mine waste rock and tailings may need to be managed for decades, if not centuries, after closure.
For the sake of current and future generations we need to safeguard the purity and quantity of our water against irresponsible mineral development. We also need to recognize that in some places mining should not be allowed to proceed because the identified risks to other resources are too great.

New mine technologies are developed to make it more profitable to mine low grade ore, so more waste is generated to extract the same amount of minerals.