We all know that mining can be detrimental to the ecological system. Apart the physical degradation in terms of extensive erosion and causing sinkholes, mining can also result in the loss of biodiversity, contamination of soil, groundwater and water tables, ultimately impacting surface waters. This could create public health concerns.
However, it must be noted that every industry that affects the environment and ecological systems can be managed and controlled with proper legislation and enforcement. The same goes for the mining industry, that is with stringent conservation and preservation protocols and practices, the industry could be considered on a lesser scale.
Although the existing National Mineral Policy 2 (NMP2) may offer some guidance in terms of environmental protection, sustainable development and the management of social impacts, which are the primary concerns of NGOs, the policy needs to be amended to address the growing challenges in the industry.
The government and the mining industry must look into amending the NMP2 in favour of a greener, environment friendly and sustainable approach to mining. All new standards and propositions should be benchmarked against existing and acceptable standards in countries abroad. In other words, international protocols must be adopted to safeguard our ecological systems. Feedback from NGOs is important in formulating new, safer policies when the matter is prompted and called to action.
It must be noted that businesses will continue to remain open to all sectors of industry. What is important then are standards and practices that must be in place to ensure that our ecological systems are not exploited but stringently protected in a sustainable manner, which should be closely monitored by the authorities.