Informit article: Australia’s mining legacies

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Mining is, by its very nature, a dirty business – it excavates and processes billions and billions of tonnes of rock and dirt every year to extract a wide variety of metals and minerals demanded by modern industrial and technological society. These include metals used in pipes, electronics, buildings and gadgets, such as copper, zinc, iron, nickel and lithium, as well as energy resources for heating and electricity, such as coal, gas and uranium. Australia has, without doubt, a vast resource base in these metals and minerals and we commonly export most of our production to overseas customers who aren’t so luckily endowed. The great scale of modern mining, however, comes at a real cost whether on the local landscape, public health or the global environment, and it is understanding these real costs and how the environmental and social impacts intertwine with economic issues that is the crux of the great mining debate in Australia and globally.

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