Sustainable river mining of aggregates in developing countries
D. J. Harrison, S. Fidgett, P. W. Scott, M. MacFarlane, P. Mitchell, J. M. Eyre, J. M. Weeks, 2005. "Sustainable river mining of aggregates in developing countries", Sustainable Minerals Operations in the Developing World, B. R. Marker, M. G. Petterson, F. McEvoy, M. H. Stephenson
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Throughout the developing world, river sand and gravel is widely exploited as aggregate for construction. Sediment is often mined directly from the river channel and makes an important contribution to the national demand for aggregates. However, instream mining, if not carefully controlled, can cause significant damage to the river and its associated biota, and to the adjacent land, as well as creating conflict with other users of the river. The economic and environmental geology of river sand and gravel mining in developing countries is poorly known and there is little knowledge available to inform existing regulatory strategies. Research work on selected river systems in Jamaica and Costa Rica has generated a considerable amount of new information on resources and sediment budgets, on market and supply options, on the physical, biological and social impacts of extraction, and on best-practice legislative and mineral planning issues. A methodology has been developed for effective control of instream sand and gravel mining operations including a Code of Practice, which regulators can use for examining and reconciling the conflicting claims of sand and gravel extraction and the environment.
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Sustainable Minerals Operations in the Developing World
The sustainable development of minerals, which are non-renewable resources, is a major challenge in today’s world. In this regard the true definition of sustainability’ is a debating point in itself: can such a concept exist with respect to non-renewable resources? Perhaps the ideal sustainability model is one that minimizes negative environmental impact and maximizes benefits to society, the economy and regional/national development. Developed and near-developed economies rely for commodity supplies on developing countries where major mining operations are often a mainstay of the domestic economy. Limited environmental regulation and low wages lead to charges of exploitation. Also, large numbers of people have no alternative to living by informal, often dangerous, ‘artisanal’ mining. This Special Publication gives examples from developing countries at all scales of mineral extraction. The volume reviews environmental, economic, health and social problems and highlights the need to solve these before sustainability can be achieved. The better solutions require mutual understanding, through full involvement of all stakeholders, education, training and investment so that small-scale ansd artisinal mines can grow into well-managed operations. At larger scales, most major interantional mining companies have now inoproved their practices and are monitoring their progress, although there is no room for complacency in this rapidly changing area.