Environmental management now dominates a range of activities performed by mining companies globally. Mature mine operates recognise that their ‘license to operate’ is often determined by their past environmental performance and future plans to ensure that the environment impacted by mining operations is returned to, at the very least, pre-mining conditions.

Mining Environmental Issues and impacts of mining can occur at various stages of the mining life cycle. Exploration, Construction, Mining Operations, Closure and Remediation.

The environmental hazards of each activity and the impact of those activities can be determined by a range of factors including:

  • The ore being mined;
  • Characteristics of the ore body and its proximity to high impact areas;
  • Ecosystem existing prior to mining activities and its’ sensitivity to the impact of mining operations;
  • Methods of mining:
  • Equipment used in the mining process including but not limited to production and ore processing equipment.

Typically the primary environmental concerns from mining activities include acid mine drainage, heavy metal contamination from leaching, chemical pollution from processing activities and control of erosion and sedimentation, dust deposition and environmental noise, however, there may be other impacts.

Effective environmental management in mining controls the impact of the mining activity in relation to the contamination of air, land and water and the subsequent impact of changes to the normalised conditions on the surrounding ecosystem.

Mining environmental issues management also interfaces with safety management in many organisations. Through understanding the impacts of the environment on personnel and the ecosystem in which they operate, miners may continue to build a sustainable industry.

Australasian Mine Safety Journal provides a range of information, case studies and news on the environmental issues and impacts of mining.

Uncontrolled release of well bore fluids: Surat Basin

During a coal seam gas drilling operation in the Surat Basin, the well began to flow when the 9-5/8” casing was being run to approximately 400 m into the Hutton sandstone formation. The 13-3/8”...


Wollongong Coal fined $30,000 for water discharge

The NSW Environment Protection Authority (EPA) has fined Wollongong Coal $30,000 after the company’s Russel Vale coal mine discharged dirty water into Bellambi Gully last December. This fine is one...

Semarco mine won’t reopen this year, BHP says

  BHP Billiton has said it was unlikely the Samarco iron ore mine would reopen, after the tragic events in November 2015 when two dam bursts. “Samarco makes an important contribution to...

Contamination concerns after CSG wells flood

Two tanks containing CSG waste water have been tipped over in flooding waters, raising concerns about possible contamination of the Nepean River southwest of Sydney. A number of AGL’s coal seam...

NT begins $1b clean-up of legacy mines

The Northern Territory has begun a $1 billion clean-up of legacy mines with plans to attract more mining for northern development. Redbank copper mine, in the Gulf Country, is a legacy mine and has...

Mount Todd abandoned gold mine

Challenge For Vista Gold In Rehabilitating Mount Todd

The pile of problems faced by Vista Gold in their proposal to rehabilitate and get the abandoned Mount Todd gold mine site back into operation isn’t a small one. The site, near Katherine in the...

Inquiry Launched Into Waste Management Transport Drivers

Inquiry Launched Into Waste Management Transport Drivers

An inquiry was launched earlier this week into safety and fairness issues concerning road transport drivers in the waste management industry. The Road Safety Remuneration Tribunal (RSRT) will conduct...

AGL BTEX test was positive

Toxic Chemical BTEX Found In AGL Mine Flowback

After discovering potentially toxic chemicals in flowback water, gas company AGL has halted operations at the Gloucester coal seam gas project north of Newcastle. The company voluntarily shut the...