Today’s topic, which we are going to deal with, directly connects us to the question: What are negative effects of diamond mining?
The simplest explanation we would single out related to this topic is: In addition to adverse effects, diamond mining also destroys ecosystems and causes soil erosion and deforestation.
Blood diamonds have a significant political impact on the diamond commodity chain, particularly at the mining level. These diamonds are created in conflict areas to fund civil conflicts.
Today, this topic is often dragged out precisely because it is one of the most important in the world. Therefore we believe that it is necessary to go through all aspects in detail and clarify the explanation in more detail that we gave you a while ago.
So let’s get started!
The fifth-largest industry in the world is mining. It is essential to the growth of the global economy, and the trade in mineral commodities accounts for a sizable portion of global markets.
According to data researcher Statista, almost 147 million carats were mined in 2018, with a global market estimated at $76 billion. Eleven percent were from the Democratic Republic of the Congo, 29 percent were from Russia, and 16 percent were from Canada.
Ninety-nine percent of Russia’s diamonds, worth US$1.5 billion yearly and making up 20 to 25 percent of the world’s production, are produced in the Republic of Sakha (Yakutia), which also has a wealth of other natural resources (Yakovleva et al., 2000).
According to data from the 2016 U.S. Geological Survey, Botswana, Canada, Angola, and South Africa are the following five countries in the world in terms of gem-quality diamond production, while Russia is home to half of the central diamond mines.
The desired distinction of “biggest diamond mine in the world” is subjective.
In addition to deforestation, soil disturbance, air emissions, surface water pollution, groundwater contamination, dust, noise, worker health and safety, and other issues, the extraction of mineral resources also permanently harms the ecosystem.
Any country in the world may thrive and prosper thanks primarily to mining.
The effects of diamond mining can extend far beyond the immediate area of operations through construction infrastructures, such as roads, railroads, and employee townships.
They can also have an impact on the local community through their effects on public health and their effects on indigenous cultures’ property rights.
Russia, Botswana, Australia, DR Congo, and Canada are the top five nations in diamond output.
Let’s move to the process of mining itself!
The Diamond Mining Process
Diamond mining doesn’t include chemicals, unlike other mining methods (such as the Cyanidation of gold). Therefore, even if there is less related environmental impact, the four procedures for mining diamonds still pose significant short- and long-term risks:
1. Open Pit Mining
To enable removal, the ore underneath is first blasted after layers of rock and dirt are removed. The unprocessed material is placed onto trucks and sent to a crushing facility.
2. Mines Underground
Deep below the earth’s crust, two layers of tunnels are excavated and joined by funnels, and a process is sometimes known as “hard rock mining.”
Ore falls and lands in the second tunnel when it is blasted in the first It is afterward grabbed by the hand and brought to the top.
3. Mining of Marine Diamonds
Among the most recent mining innovations, this method of mining for diamonds connects crawlers to ships to collect seabed gravel that would subsequently be processed.
Naturally, this only happens in nations with access to water.
4. Artisanal Alluvial Mining
Since alluvial diamonds are frequently discovered in several beds, industrial mining is essentially impossible.
Small-scale diamond extraction is therefore often carried out by hand, frequently without regulation.
These were four types of diamond mining!
Diamond Mining’s Harmful Effects On The Environment
Using less hazardous chemicals makes diamond mining less destructive than mine for gold and other precious metals.
If the mining corporations implement adequate planning and controls, it is also simpler to decrease the detrimental impacts of diamond mining.
Sadly, most diamond mining firms don’t care to follow these rules. These actions may put the environment in jeopardy.
Improper diamond mining techniques can cause soil erosion and cause agricultural issues because they remove nutrients from the top soil.
Certain places may be no longer suited for farming.
For example, a location may become more vulnerable to flooding and other disasters due to land degradation.
Deforestation is another consequence of soil erosion and can significantly impact biological systems.
Soil erosion can also be linked to airborne dust pollution. These dust particles frequently include poisonous compounds, which can also cause illnesses.
Water Bodies with pollution can kill aquatic life and other creatures whose primary food source is fish. Mining pits are frequently left in their wake.
These mining holes may be a breeding ground for mosquitoes that spread illnesses like malaria and dengue when they are filled with stagnant water.
Angola’s ecosystem has suffered dramatically due to a century of careless diamond mining. Careless diamond mining has destroyed forests, eroded soil, and driven local inhabitants to move.
The diamond business in Angola has been notably negligent in preventing the exploitation of rivers and Ecological Devastationstreams.
To expose riverbeds to mining, diamond miners have rerouted rivers and built dams, which has had terrible consequences on fish and animals.
Diamond mining has the potential to destroy entire ecosystems in severe circumstances.
The Kono area of eastern Sierra Leone is home to hundreds of abandoned mining trenches that diamond miners left behind.
Land once suitable for cultivation is now a bleak moonscape because wildlife has disappeared, and the topsoil has deteriorated. Additionally, the mining pits have caused a public health catastrophe.
The holes become infected with mosquitoes and spread diseases like malaria and other water-borne illnesses when they fill up with standing rainfall.
Conscientious Diamond Mining
Because it does not employ hazardous chemicals, diamond mining is often less damaging to the environment than other forms of mining, including gold mining. Let’s clear this even more!
Despite significant environmental dangers, strong regulation and careful planning can reduce the adverse effects of diamond mining.
Although the Canadian Arctic has a highly delicate ecosystem, it is carefully controlled to safeguard the environment. Environmental protections have been successfully implemented in Namibia and Botswana diamond mines.
Furthermore, environments impacted by diamond mining may be restored. When mining activities end, land restoration is planned for Canada, Namibia, and Botswana.
Even in the Kono district of Sierra Leone, where it was formerly believed that the soil was irreparably damaged, land restoration enhances the environment.
The mining holes are currently being filled, natural species are being brought back, and local communities and international partners are replacing the lost topsoil.
To advance these efforts, the Kono district’s environment has been revitalized, and old mining fields have been made accessible for profitable farming with funding from Brilliant Earth’s non-profit fund.
So, the conclusion is that even in places that seemed impossible, hope for restoring soil and nature still exists!
Adverse Effects On The Environment
The lack of knowledge about the problems with open pit mining, particularly in Northern Canada, has numerous adverse repercussions. These include poor air quality and vibrations from loud noises that deter animals.
Due to these mine sites’ extensive area, caribou (wild reindeer), bears, and fish would lose their homes and go extinct.
The 475km long ice road from Yellowknife that goes into the Ekati mine is traveled by enormous trucks. The Ekati diamond mine alone required 40kg of building supplies, equipment, diesel, and food.
Just the Ekati open pit mine has a 1400-acre environmental footprint.
Fish and other aquatic life are wholly wiped off when water bodies are drained.
Chemicals harmful to water fleas are released during the processing of kimberlite rock, and if the fleas perish, the Arctic food chain is upset.
For instance, Bathurst caribou herd radio-collared cows spend 7-8% less time eating when it comes to the Ekati mine.
Caribou pass through the mining area on their migration routes, but the massive volumes of dust taint the lichen they consume. As a result, between the 1980s and 2006, the number of caribou decreased from 400,000 to 128,000.
There have been permanent changes to Snap Lake’s water quality and perhaps its species composition, and alterations to water quality are detectable upstream of Lac de Gras (Ekati mine) as far as 200 km (De Beers diamond project).
Twenty lakes have been completely removed without any compensation for fish habitat.
To aid in mineral extraction, diamond mining corporations inject significant volumes of ammonia beneath lake beds.
This harms the local fish. These dangerous substances contaminate nearby lakes as well as the local air. Additionally, the mine excavation destroys other flora that caribou consume.
Due to wind-borne pollution, these dangerous substances from the mines could also reach Yellowknife or other villages.
Usually, an open pit mine becomes a landfill once it shuts, but this would be harmful to the ecology (burrowing animals, chemicals, etc.)
As the soil deteriorates, no plants would be able to grow there.
The open-pit miners’ dust production adds to the ground-level ozone problem. This gas pollution is produced by industrial facility emissions, car exhaust, gas vapor, etc.
Because it causes asthma, throat discomfort, and lung difficulties, this ozone is dangerous to breathe in.
It can also harm trees, crops, and vegetation growth. Due to the impact of the wind, ground-level ozone may be found in towns kilometers distant from its source.
Open-pit mining equipment relies on chemicals that can degrade or destroy the top ozone layer in such regions, affecting crops and emitting radiation that causes cancer.
Because humans produce more CO2, there are more greenhouse gasses and temperatures.
UV radiation would accelerate snow melting if upper-level ozone in the Arctic decreased.
A rise in greenhouse gas output: Millions of diesel are now used to power the diamond mines in Ekati and Diavik.
Each mine significantly contributes to the Territories’ annual greenhouse gas production.
Harmful Impacts of Diamond Mining On Residents Close To The Mining Areas
We’ve already had the opportunity to go through the adverse effects, but how do they affect the residents closest to the mining place?
Diamond mining has negative repercussions that extend beyond the workers and the environment.
It also has a long-term effect on the local population. For instance, aquatic life can be poisoned by the contaminated water bodies brought to my garbage disposal.
The destruction brought on by mining activity causes animals to relocate from one location to another. Also, when plants are exposed to harmful toxins, they wilt and eventually die.
When these things occur, it will be harder for people to search for animals. These towns will therefore have a meager supply of food.
Additionally, it should be emphasized that most businesses that own large and prosperous diamond mines have undeveloped areas.
These towns lack access to educational institutions, medical centers, and other leisure services.
Even though the diamond mining sector significantly influences the nation’s economy, infrastructure is not the government’s primary concern.
Health concerns are associated with diamond mining.
Residents are exposed to harmful substances that might cause infections or other ailments in certain places. The shortage of physicians, medications, and other medical supplies in these locations only worsens the issue.
The stagnant waters in closed pit mines would expose people to diseases including dengue, malaria, and influenza.
Also, dust exposure makes them more vulnerable to developing lung conditions.
In other instances, the explosions brought on by diamond extractions force families to leave the region and hunt for new homes.
As we mentioned in the introduction, questions like “What Are Negative Effects Of Diamond Mining?” are pretty common today.
As an answer, or a short explanation, we would single out the following: In addition to detrimental impacts, soil erosion, deforestation, and ecological destruction are all brought on by diamond mining.
Blood diamonds have considerable political influence on the diamond supply chain, particularly at the mining level. These diamonds are produced in war zones to finance civil wars.
We hope that through this article, we managed to clarify all the details, answer the question adequately and clarify all your possible doubts.
Also, we hope you had fun reading the text, learning many new things, and getting informed about these important topics!