​Cinnabar Mining - A Complex Situation

We've been playing around with mercury since around 7,100 BC when we first daubed red paint made from mercury sulphide onto cave walls in Turkey.  The mercury sulphide came from natural deposits of a volcanic mercury sulphide ore called cinnabar.  The bright red ore was ground into a fine powder and used to colour pain...
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​Lead Poisoning – An Ancient Problem That Is Still Happening Today

Many living things, including humans, need micro quantities of certain essential minerals for good health. The list includes iron, copper, zinc, manganese, magnesium, calcium, phosphorus, sodium, chloride, potassium, iodine and others. Lead is conspicuously absent. In fact, health authorities around the world have been revising their RDI for lead d...
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Spotlight On Environmental Geology

Environmental geologists, through geologic data and application of 'principles of geology', can identify / remediate / prevent / resolve human-induced environmental issues before they become problematic. Humans have entered a critical phase in our history. As the earth's natural resources shrink and our population grows, there are critical decision...
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​2021 – What Does It Have In Store For Mining?

 As 20 21 gets underway, and we reflect back on the interesting year that was 2020, it's worth noting a few key factors, and how those may well affect what is to come.  There's no doubt that 2020 will go down in history as a watershed year. So many things about the way we operate, particularly at a global level, may well have changed fore...
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​Spotlight On Medical Geology

Perhaps you have an interest in geologic matter, and helping people? If so, a career as a medical geologist could be what you're looking for!  In its broadest sense, medical geology studies exposure to or deficiency of trace elements and minerals; inhalation of ambient and anthropogenic mineral dusts and volcanic emissions; transportation, mod...
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Education For A More Sustainable Mining Future

"…the objectives of an observation give meaning to what defines sustainable mining. Thus, the observations of host local communities in terms of cultural values and economic livelihood, which is linked to environmental endowments, inform their perceptions of sustainable mining. The profit and revenue interests of both governments and industry playe...
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​Sustainable Mining – Do We Have Consensus On What It Really Means?

Sustainability – a long-term goal. Sustainable development – the pathways and processes needed to achieve that goal.  Sustainable development as per UNESCO refers to "development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs."    The Johannesburg Declaration on Sust...
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Bacteria And Biomining

​ What do humans, microbes and living organisms in general have in common? We all need metals to catalyse the enzyme and cellular reactions that form the basis of life. In mammals, copper for example is needed to set off the chain reactions that produce pigment. Pigment helps protect us from UV damage. Magnesium works synergistically with calcium t...
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Circular Economics, Reprocessing Waste And Mining

​ Mining is an all too often wasteful industry. It's also a polluting industry. However, as investors and the community in general increasingly pressure the industry to fix these issues, some companies are rising to the challenge. It's somewhat ironic that as mining searches for and digs up valuable new resources, it is often simultaneously spewing...
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When Past Meets Present, And There's An Explosion

A series of events playing out in Western Australia's Pilbara region at the moment looks set to have a significant role in changing the way both social and official mining licences are granted. The story thus far involves a large corporation and 48,000 years of indigenous heritage. Ironically, the Goliath involved in this tussle has been warning th...
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​Unusual Ways To Repurpose Old Mines

Digging holes in the ground invariably leaves, well, holes in the ground. Especially when a significant portion of what has come out of the hole is not there anymore. Such is the dilemma that has faced mining companies for decades. Today, many jurisdictions dictate that companies submit rehabilitation plans as a condition of getting a licence to di...
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​Going Green – A Major Consideration For Mining CEO's

Companies go 'green' for various reasons, many of which overlap. At one end of the scale we have owners, boards, and executive managers who are so dedicated to sustainability they're doing it regardless, even if it means having to create a niche market for their products. At the other end, we have those who couldn't care less because they're all ab...
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​Should Mining CEO's Be Concerned About 'Tech Heads' Getting Involved In Mining?

What do Elon Reeve Musk FRS, William Henry Gates III, Jeffrey Preston Bezos, and Sir Richard Charles Nicholas Branson have in common? Apart from their money? Quite a lot as it turns out. All of them have made their fortunes on the back of innovative, creative ideas that push boundaries, as have many others like them. They're invariably involved in ...
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​Rock Phosphate Mining – Viable Industry Or Environmental Millstone?

Phosphorus and calcium are the 2 most abundant minerals in our body. Fortunately, a healthy balanced diet that contains enough protein also generally supplies enough of these 2 essential minerals. The most common dietary sources for humans include meat, poultry, fish, dairy products, and eggs. Phosphorus in particular is needed for a multitude of f...
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​Mining Twenty Thousand Leagues Under The Sea

Back in 1870 when French author Jules Verne penned what was to become arguably his best known science fiction work he probably never envisioned that a mere 100 years later humans would be contemplating undersea mining! However, even though the mid 1900's discovery of mineral rich nodules on the seabed was tempting, land-based deposits of ...
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​Mining Waste Or Valuable Resource?

Paper manufacturing is one of those contentious industries that are increasingly proving to be environmentally and ecologically unsustainable. Traditional paper manufacturing that is. Traditional paper is made from pulped plant matter, notably trees. Some of the facts about this industry are mind-boggling. For example, according to some sources ONE...
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Is That Aluminium In Your Favourite Coffee Capsule Eco Friendly?

​ It's probably not something one thinks about overly much but when you pop that coffee capsule into your coffee maker first thing in the morning, and at periodic intervals throughout the day, have you considered the carbon footprint just that small action leaves? It's not just about the coffee itself, which may or may not have been sourced from su...
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​Climate Smart Mining And Helping Fuel A Low Carbon Economy

One of the topics that continually appears in most 'top mining trends' lists is that of the industry's role in transitioning to a low-carbon economy. What is a low-carbon economy and what are the implications for the mining industry? Wikipedia defines a 'low-carbon economy' as one based on power sources that are derived from low carbon raw material...
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​Greening Mining Vehicles – The ICMM's Innovation for Cleaner Safer Vehicles

In October 2018 the International Council on Mining and Metals announced its Innovation for Cleaner Safer Vehicles. It comes as a result of some significant statistics around the industry's impact on the environment, and the safety record of mining vehicles. For example, a report compiled by Statista indicated that in 2016 10 mining companies betwe...
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Weeds And Mining

According to Wikipedia, a 'weed is a plant considered undesirable in a particular situation, "a plant in the wrong place"'. They range in scope from pesky little intruders that mar the smooth perfection of your bowling green lawn right through to marauding invaders that take over entire tracts of land. Either way, they're a nuisance and potentially...
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