The Great Lakes Invitational Conference Association

The Environmental Impact of Mining

The Environmental Impact of Mining

Mining is perhaps the oldest human industrial endeavor, going back at least 40,000 years.  Broadly defined, mining is the extraction of mineral resources from the surrounding material—everything from the quarrying of stone to drilling for oil and gas.  Mining takes many forms, everything from open-pit or “strip” mining to deep vertical or horizontal shafts bored into the ground, as well as underwater excavations and offshore drilling (orbital, asteroid, or deep-space mining remain purely speculative enterprises).  Common to nearly all mining is that the amount of waste material extracted vastly exceeds the amount of the desired resource ultimately recovered, and that significant supplies of relatively more abundant resources such as water or wood are ultimately exchanged for a relatively small amount of a much more economically valuable end product.  It is these last two factors which constitute the most visible component of mining’s environmental impact, an impact which also includes chemical contamination, landscape alteration, and a significant human component.

 

The impact of a given mine depends on a number of factors, including the method used, the resource being extracted, the overall size of the mining operation, and the degree of remoteness.  Material removed from the mine that is not of any immediate economic value, known as “overburden”, must be stored somewhere out of the way to allow mining of valuable materials to commence.  Mine “tailings”, the leavings of the process of separating the valuable resource from the substance that initially contained it, often consists of a toxic slurry which must be kept contained.  Shaft mines and other underground techniques such as fracking can lead to underground collapse, forming sinkholes and other seismic anomalies.  Underground coal mine fires have rendered large regions uninhabitable, largely due to carbon monoxide.  Dust plumes from large-scale mining operations severely increase the atmospheric concentration of fine particulates, and especially when combined with the large diesel generators commonly used in remote areas lead to significant air pollution.  All forms of terrestrial mining have a severe impact on local and regional water resources, due both to the alteration of drainage patterns and to the diversion of water to the mining project itself.  Water used for mining is generally not safe for release back into the environment, and must be processed so that it does not poison the local ecosystem, whether with chemical leachings from exposed minerals or with industrial fluids.  The materials extracted may themselves be hazardous, with oil spills both terrestrially and at sea causing untold damage.  And this is to say nothing of the harm suffered by miners and mining towns, with whole populations suffering the effects of substances both inhaled and ingested.

 

Despite all of the hazards associated with large-scale resource extraction, mining remains an essential component of human civilization.  It is the task of the Environmental Committee to examine the ways in which the impact of mining can be mitigated.  While many nations have implemented local regulations in an effort to avoid harm to local ecosystems and human populations, these regulations are by no means universal, and are by no means uniformly enforced even where they exist.  The committee’s deliberations should take into account not only the impact of active mines and drilling projects, but also the reclamation and restoration of land used for mines which are no longer active, in addition to the containment and cleanup of mining disasters such as runoff and spillage.  Management of the resources used in mining, especially water resources, to avoid wastage and make the mining process more environmentally efficient is also essential.

  • Allysonsuandi
    Allysonsuandi November 14, 2017 Reply

    Country: Venezuela
    Committee: UNEP
    School: Williamston High School
    Topic: The Environmental Impact of Mining
    Delegate: Allyson Suandi

    Natural resources and minerals are used everywhere across the globe and come from one action: mining. These resources are used for everything from making diamond rings to powering the electricity in people’s houses. As countries rely more on electricity and other limited resources, more mining is done all throughout the world. Mining has serious side effects to the environment, such as the creation of sink holes which serve as a hazard to the public, as well as the contamination of water, and the destruction of the biosphere from erosion and the release of chemicals into these places. It could also reduce the ability to provide the services necessary for human and environmental well being such as air and water purification. Additionally, decomposition of waste is affected and damaged in high pollution areas. For every one ton of copper mined, 220 tons of the Earth are dug out, which goes to show how much humans erode the Earth by this. Mining is significant and vital to every country, and therefore it cannot be stopped, but it can and must be regulated.

    In the nation of Venezuela, gold, silver, and diamond mining is very prominent and the country relies on mining as a pillar of its economy. Like many countries, Venezuela is working to improve its very own policies on mining. Venezuela cares about the conditions miners live and work in out of concern for their citizens, as the nation also offers these miners social programs and alternative sources of income. Venezuela now evaluates the environmental damage the mines are causing, and assesses how the mines are operating and producing. The nation has now also started to clean contaminated bodies of water and replanted deforested areas, but they are in need more waste treatment plants. Venezuela blames certain countries for the environmental impact of mining as they caused many problematic incidents such as blood diamonds and the civil war in the Congo, and slave mines at Potosi. It is reported that Canadian mining companies in Latin America are well known to more than 100 human rights and environmental conflicts. With these countries continuing to mine in these places affecting other third world countries’ environments, Venezuela recognizes and would like to help these countries who are still suppressed by exploitation in protecting their mines from western powers and the environmental impacts that their country faces that comes with it. The Bolivarian Republic seeks common sense measures to address the environmental damage that the west has created.

    Venezuela will look favorably upon if there was an implementation of recycled products, or scrap mining. Venezuela believes that the United Nations should turn to using cleaner waste removal techniques, and also that nations should lessen the amount of waste through scrap mining. This could reduce the amount of materials necessary that would need be needed to create products, which therefore leads to a safer environment with less mining and less waste. Increasing public awareness on using recycled products and the costs that ecosystems face due to excessive mining is one way, and as well as putting a regulation on companies that use a high amount of minerals because of its unsustainability. The United Nations must also urge countries to clean old and abandoned mines in a reusable state for the biosphere or by the people. Venezuela would like to see a resolution that encourages countries to pump groundwater which will reduce the amount of water used and improve the condition of the water which is also used as an aquatic environment as well as other industries that use this water. Venezuela also recommends that countries should to turn to renewable energy sources such as solar power and wind turbines. Venezuela would like to work with other Latin American countries and other third world countries.

  • Justemmanem
    Justemmanem November 14, 2017 Reply

    Country: Portugal
    Committee: Environmental
    Topic: The Environmental Impact of Mining
    Delegate: Emma Williams
    School: Williamston High School

    The most pressing issue relating to this topic is that mines, whether active or not can cause a lot of danger to the environment around them. Mining has been around for at least 40,000 years and is considered to be an essential part of the world. However, active mines can cause chemical contamination, landscape alteration, and bring with them many dangers. Even with non-active mines there are problems with restoring the land and cleaning up runoff. The impacts differ based on what was being extracted, the size of the operation, and how far away from other places the activity was. The United Nations must decide what actions can or cannot be taken to make mining safer but also stay efficient, and what to do to help non-active sites.

    When it comes to resolving the matter especially when speaking of cleaning up and restoring non-active mining sites Portugal would be very interested. They do not have very many active mining sites but they do have many non-active sites that need contained or cleaned. The country would be interested in finding an efficient but not too expensive way to do so because they do not have much money but need help. Many old mining sites have a lot of soil contamination which could affect any water or anyone who wants to build in those areas.

    Portugal would propose to resolve this issue by setting some standards of clean up and safe ways to go about the mining of all sites whether active or non-active. Any plan that is inexpensive and will be easily implemented because of their low GDP and the fact that they already depend on other countries for help would be accepted by Portugal. They would not accept any plan that would be too expensive or that only cater to the active mining sites. Portugal would expect help from other countries that also deal with problems from non-active sites as well as other countries within NATO.

  • Ngrochoski
    Ngrochoski November 14, 2017 Reply

    United Nations Environmental Programme
    The Environmental Impact of Mining
    Australia
    Nataleigh Grochoski

    Mining is a prominent issue worldwide; releasing harmful substances into the water, air, and soil. Habitats are lost as a result of deforestation; a side effect of the mining process in which a space is cleared for a mine. Explosives are used to destroy mountain tops, and toxic runoff flows from the mines into rivers, severely contaminating them. Water loss is another effect of mining. The mining process shrinks the water table by pumping out water in order to prevent contamination of minerals like coal, and to clear flooded mines for miners. Mines also collect water to use as a dust suppressant which strains the local water supply. A number of health risks are also attributable to mining. Miners’ toxic work conditions are linked to a number of chronic and fatal conditions. Explosives, cave-ins, and equipment accidents also cause many deaths.

    Australia is already taking legislative action to reduce the harmful effects of mining. Australia relies on its beautiful environment to draw in tourists from around the world, and mining is destroying natural lands such as the Great Barrier Reef and Kimberley which are some of Australia’s top tourist destinations. The Great Barrier Reef serves as a major environmental and economic asset to Australia. The Great Barrier Reef contributed approximately $5.2 billion in Gross Domestic Product in 2005, although this value is slowly declining because of port and shipping activities driven by the mining business. Australia is also currently in a water crisis; facing a 40% water shortfall by 2030 which will only be worsened with an increase in mine activity. The Alpha Coal Mine is a mega-mine planned to be set up in Queensland’s remote Galilee basin. The mine will permanently remove 176 billion liters of water which is essential in ending Australia’s water crisis. Foreign mining companies are taking over Australian land and destroying it with no benefit to Australia. The majority of the Alpha Coal Mine profits will go overseas. CO2 generated by the coal mine is predicted to be more than some entire countries like Sweden and Denmark produce in a year. Other foreign mine projects such as The China First projects’ open cut coal mine will severely damage environments protected under the Nature Refuge. In order to asses the effects of mining on the environment, Australian Minister Burke halted the Alpha Coal movement. Mining only accounts for 2.5% of Australia’s total GDP and reducing the mining business will not have a large impact on Australia’s economy. Australia is already beginning to remove BHP Billington from the Miners Council of Australia, which was once dominated by BHP Billington and other large foreign mining companies. Removing large foreign mining companies from the governing bodies keeps them from setting policies in Australia and improves the likelihood that the governing bodies will act in Australia’s best interests. Currently, the Australian government is beginning to remove foreign influences and is considering reversing their stance on loaning an Indian company $1 billion towards a coal mine on Australian land. The United Nations Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights is urging Australia to rethink the mine, saying that it will destroy Australia’s landscape and undermine the country’s pledge to the Paris Climate Agreement. The majority of the Australian people are also firmly against the Adani mine project as well as some of Australia’s Chief scientists who recommend that the Government establish a clean energy target. Queensland premier Annastacia Palaszczuk pledged to block a $900 million dollar loan which is vital for the coal mine to be built.

    In order to preserve Australia’s natural beauty, tourism, and freshwater Australia needs a resolution enacted to minimise the environmental impacts of mining. In order to reduce pollution produced by foreign mining companies operating in Australia it is essential that a carbon tax be implemented and other pollution reduction taxes aimed at preserving Australia’s freshwater. Tests for heavy metals in the water also need to be legislated, and tighter restrictions on mining by completely banning mining on nature reserves enacted. These policies in aggregate between the United Nations and Australia should have a positive impact on Australia’s environment without any major economic impacts to Australia or its people.

  • Zrosario002
    Zrosario002 November 14, 2017 Reply

    SUBMITTED TO: United Nations Environment Programme
    FROM: Republic of Namibia
    SUBJECT: The Environmental Impact of Mining
    Zoe Rosario

    Mining is essential to all nations around the world. Resources are extracted, and jobs are made, but the mining industry can also be dangerous. Mining contributes to pollutions of all kinds, including contamination of groundwater, noise pollution, and dust pollution. Namibia is no exception to the pros and cons of mining, and experiences them first hand.
    Mining plays a significant role in the Namibian economy. In fact, Namibia is heavily dependent on the extraction and processing of minerals as it is accounts for 52% of its main exports. Mining accounts for 20% of Namibia’s GDP, and 25% of its income. Namibia is a provider of large quantities of diamonds, uranium, tungsten, copper, silver, lead and tin, with diamonds and uranium being the most vital industries.
    Despite this, mining in Namibia has its disadvantages. Soil and some crops being grown near mines have been shown to have higher levels of some metal elements. In addition to these contamination, serious dust problems have arose. How can we extract necessary resources without harming the environment and population? How can we make mining safe so that the industry can still provide jobs?
    A good resolution will not only take into account the ecological issues of mining, but also the economic value of the mining industry. As previously mentioned, the mining industry accounts for Namibia’s main exports and a good part of the nation’s income. In addition to this, mining is the cause of approximately 19,000 jobs for Namibian citizens (in 2015). The resolution must not only address the issues of contamination and pollution, but also prevent the loss of thousands of jobs.
    Namibia has been working to improve these issues. After research findings of the dust problem were communicated to the Rosh Pinah Mine, they started watering the dust to minimize air pollution. Namibia has been taking action as a result of the research done by scientists from the University of Namibia. One of the researchers of the study claimed “The government of Namibia was very responsive to our research results, because we worked with the environmental division of the Geological Survey of Namibia. When we showed them the results they took action.” Additionally, the Environmental Law and Policy in Namibia states that conducting environmental impact assessments are essential to ensure a balance between mineral development and environmental protection
    In conclusion, the delegation of Namibia hopes that the other countries will respond to scientific research as Namibia has done, and use it to write an effective resolution and improve our environment. Namibia is confident that little by little, the environmental issues of mining will be addressed and diminished.

  • MccalmontK
    MccalmontK November 15, 2017 Reply

    Republic of Iraq
    Environmental Committee
    Environmental Impact of Mining
    Keegan McCalmont

    Given Iraq’s economic dependence on oil production and the power oil grants, any policy that seriously hinders the production, refining, or exportation of oil will not be supported.

    Given the importance of oil in the world economy, it’s important that environmental concerns do not restrict global trade. While the dangers of mining are abundant, they pale in comparison to the necessity of the materials they produce and production efficiency is of utmost importance. Another issue of importance is the role mining serves in giving islamic countries the opportunity to participate on the world stage. Oil and minerals gained through mining are valuable resources with which countries, who would otherwise be pushed around by wealthy western nations, a chip to bargain with.

    Iraq possesses the fifth largest oil reserve and is one of the largest exporters of crude oil in the world. The Iraqi government is heavily dependent on the revenue from oil for funding. Iraq’s possession of oil is a key component in its world standing and any significant loss to that source of power will not be welcomed. However, concerns raised by recent IS attacks that left the air around certain areas unbreathable as well increasing concerns about cancer risks have given way to curiosity about what could be done to protect Iraqi citizens.

    Iraq’s goals in this conference include:
    -Ensuring that oil production is not seriously hindered
    -Ensuring that the bargaining power of Islamic nations in regards to oil and minerals is not reduced
    -Addressing concerns about air pollution
    -Working with allies on their goals

  • Trevorschantz
    Trevorschantz November 15, 2017 Reply

    United Nations Environment Programme
    The Environmental Impact of Mining
    People’s republic of China
    Trevor Schantz

    Environmental impact of mining

    The practice of mining materials can go back farther than 40,000 years. Making it one of the oldest human industrial enterprises. The problems with mining are great in number and varying in harmfulness. The most glaring problem with mining is how efficient a practice it is. In fact, every 42 seconds of gold mining, enough waste is produced to equal the weight of the Eiffel Tower. Mining also presents other glaring problems such as chemical contamination, alteration of landscape and environment, and pollution. There is such great difficulty in finding a solution because depending on the type of mining, and the material being mined, the side effects very greatly. One thing all mines do have in common however, is the obvious inefficiency. Mining has been and will continue to be a process used by many as a form of economic gain. But with areas being left uninhabitable, water being polluted, and air being harmed, things certainly cannot continue how they are now.

    In 2016 the top 6 Chinese mining companies reported nearly 80 billion dollars in revenue, providing a huge boost to the Chinese economy. 12 of the 40 largest mining companies on earth are in China, who is also the world’s leading exporter of several precious mined metals including coal, silver, aluminum, copper, gold, cobalt. In addition, China also supplies the world with 40% of its minerals and 47% of its coal output. Mining is distinctly crucial to the nation. It recognizes the harmful side effects associated with mining and has declared a war on polluters. The mining sector has been absolutely crucial to economic boom in recent decades; however, China has failed to consider the environmental impact of mining practices. Poor regulation of practices has lead to contamination of soil, water, and air in the country. It’s become clear that the consequences of mining can no longer be overlooked, such was the reason the Chinese government has declared war on pollution. Several preventive measures such as restricting number of mining licenses, forcing miners to treat at least 85% of wastewater, minimizing amount of emissions, and remediating contaminated soil have all been put into place to try to lessen the environmental impact. These measures are certainly not enough though, for real change to occur, more measures and restrictions must be made and installed.

    When it comes to mining, there isn’t a single encompassing solution, rather many solutions each to solve a different problem. China would like to see a new global organization or coalition created to allow for a collaborative effort on this issue. Some possible solutions to mining issues are: finding and closing illegal mines, investing in new research on how to make mines greener, building and using the reusable waste products, and improving the overall efficiency of the mining process. The only way to effect real change with this issue is to have a collaborative effort from nations around the world. If a true solution is to be found, we must do it together.

  • Roygraboskea
    Roygraboskea November 15, 2017 Reply

    November 14th, 2017
    SUBMITTED TO: United Nations Environment Programme
    FROM: Republic of Botswana
    SUBJECT: The Environmental Impact of Mining

    Mining, generally defined, is the extraction of mineral resources from the surrounding material, such as much needed oil and gas. Unfortunately, many mining processes can create a lot of waste, which can cause unintentional damage to the surrounding environment and atmosphere. Mining can also lead to sinkholes, the collapse of mine shafts, and underground mine fires, but with the proper precautions and execution, miners can avoid those seismic anomalies. Mining can also damage the surrounding bodies of water, and pollute the air. While mining does create unwanted waste that can impact the environment, it is vital to many countries and accounts for 38% of Botswana’s total GDP. Many mining nations have already come up with their own regulations and management on controlling the negative effects mining.

    Botswana has dominated the mining industry since the 1990’s, producing gem quality diamonds for over 25 years. Botswana also extracts copper, gold, nickel, and soda ash, but at a smaller, less profitable level. Due to mining, Botswana’s economy is on the rise. According to the finance minister, Kenneth Matambo, the economy of Botswana will increase at an estimated 4.2% in 2017, compared to the 2.9% growth in 2016, based on the anticipated improvement in the mining sector and positive growth prospects for the non-mining sectors. This is very good news for the citizens of Botswana, who have just experienced a year of drought and power constraints.
    Since the rewrite of Botswana’s mining law in 1999 to bring it in line with international best practice, Botswana has served as an example to other South African nations. The law has often been praised for being certain, clear, and stable, and the nation does not impose burdensome socio-economic obligations on its miners. Botswana has also recently adopted the Canadian “Toward Sustainable Mining” initiative, which requires workers to continuously participate in an evaluation of their current practices.

    The delegation of Botswana does believe that there should be some regulations on mining to keep our environment healthy but asks the UNEP to keep in mind that many countries’ GDP comes largely from mining, and too many regulations and restrictions can greatly hinder the economic state of those nations. The delegation of Botswana supports the idea of coming together to come up with regulations controlling the environmental impact of mining. While mining is a very unclean and wasteful industry, the delegation of Botswana hopes that the United Nations Environmental Programme can come together and form a good and efficient resolution to this issue.

    • Roygraboskea
      Roygraboskea November 23, 2017 Reply

      Anne Graboske, Botswana, Royal Oak High School, United Nations Environmental Programme

  • TaraPorterfield
    TaraPorterfield November 15, 2017 Reply

    Topic: Mining
    Country: Tajikistan
    Committee:UNEP
    School: Royal Oak ROMUN
    Delegate: Tara Porterfield

    Mining is one of the oldest forms of industrial endeavors. To make it simple, mining is extracting minerals from the surrounding material. Mines can have a lot of possible negative effects on the environment, including waste which causes pollution in the water and air.

    Tajikistan is highly dependant on the mining industry, in fact 30,000 tons of oil are mined annually. With only 7% of their land being arable it’s pertinent that we this industry is kept alive. We have one of the lowest GDP of all of the 15 former soviet nations, killing off this industry would cause our economy to collapse, leaving heroin trafficking (which makes up 30-50% of our GDP) to be our main industry. With no other source of income many who would rather mine will have no choice but to turn to trafficking of drugs just to feed their families.

    Tajikistan believes that changes can be made. However it should be based on the country’s economy. Forcing all countries to conform to the same rules would not work due to the differences in all of the country’s economies. For example a blanket ban on chocolate exports would harm the Ivory Coast much more tremendously than it would harm the United States, just like a blanket ban on mining would harm tajikistan in a greater way than it would harm the United Kingdom.

    Tajikistan believes that the resolution should be the catalyst for environmental change without drastically changing the country’s economy. Tajikistan also wants to insure that their country can still develop while making these changes. In conclusion, Tajikistan is willing to lessen their environmental impact as long as it doesn’t impinge on the country’s economy.

  • 18KuglerMa
    18KuglerMa November 15, 2017 Reply

    Country: Canada
    Committee: Environmental
    Topic: The Environmental Impact of Mining
    School: Williamston High School
    Delegate: Madeline Kugler

    Mining is very big for many countries, but it can also be done in multiple different ways such as open-pit mining and deep vertical or horizontal shaft mining. Mining can also become very dangerous due to the creation of air pollution, loss of biodiversity, and personal health effects. Also, it is generally not safe for water to be released back into the environment. However, there are some arguments that mining remains an essential component of human civilization, such as how it helps countries overall economy and their use of minerals and the products made from them. Even though many countries have implemented regulations to avoid harm from local ecosystems and human populations, there are still countries that have not yet helped their workers as well as their environment from the harmful effects of mining.
    An organization called Environmental Canada works to help address the environmental impacts of mining. Features like waste rock and mine tailings can result in releases of contaminated run-off into waterways and soil. Worst of all, wastes like acidic drainage can cause significant impacts on water quality and aquatic ecosystems. Canada holds primary jurisdiction over mining because it is about natural resource extraction. Canada’s federal government has legislation that covers key aspects of mining. Canada’s Minister of Environment is responsible for the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act and administering the Metal Mining Effluent Regulations (MMER). Mining operations, which are not captured under the MMER, such as coalmines, diamond mines, quarries, and other non-metallic mineral mining facilities are all subject under the Fisheries Act. Moreover, mining brings over 373,000 jobs to Canada. Canada has one of the largest mining supply sectors globally with more than 3,700 companies supplying engineering, geotechnical, environmental, financial, and other services to mining operations. Canada is one of the largest mining nations in the world producing more than 60 minerals and metals. Mining contributed $56 billion to Canada’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in 2015. Their leading minerals and metals are potash, uranium, nickel, and niobium. Globally, Canada is recognized for its leadership in safety and sustainability. Protecting the health and safety of employees, contractors, and communities is a fundamental component for the organization MAC’s Towards Sustainable Mining (TSM) initiative. Another organization called Safety and Health helps manage a process that is established to prevent the occurrence of all incidences, and has their employees trained to prevent the occurrence of any incident or to identify any hazards that might contaminate the environment.
    Mining has become one of the safest industries in Canada because of our responsible mining initiatives. The Canadian mining industry has made great strides in recent decades to minimize the environmental footprints of their operations and improving the reclamation of land. This progress has been driven by the actions of individual companies, government regulations and industry standards like TSM (MAC’s Towards Sustainable Mining initiative). One of TSM’s central goals is to minimize mining’s impact on the environment and biodiversity through all stages of the mining lifecycle, from exploration to mine closure. Companies are measured and publicly report their performance for several environmentally focused TSM protocols, including tailings management, energy use, greenhouse gas emissions management, and biodiversity conservation management. Canadian mining companies are involved in additional environmental initiatives like the Mine Environmental Neutral Drainage program (MEND) and the National Orphaned/Abandoned Mines Initiative (NOAMI). NOAMI poses environmental, health, safety, and economic problems to communities. The MEND works to develop technologies to prevent and control acidic drainage that has become a huge problem in Canada. There has been tremendous technical progress that has been made in the areas of prediction and modeling, prevention and control, disposal technologies, and lime treatment.
    Some ways to reduce the environment impact of mining operations includes reducing water and energy consumption, minimizing land disturbance and waste production, and preventing air, soil, and water consumption. The Mining Association of Canada has endorsed these principles of sustainable development and has developed their own guidelines to promote sustainable practices among their member organizations. Canada hopes to continue these sustainable ways to keep mining an environmentally friendly operation. Canada would also like to help other countries and hope to improve their environments just as our organizations help Canada from the dangerous effects that mining can bring to an economy.

  • Alexpadfield
    Alexpadfield November 15, 2017 Reply

    Date: November 1st, 2017
    SUBMITTED TO: The United Nations Environmental Programme
    FROM: Republic of Cuba
    SUBJECT: Protecting International Fisheries

    Fisheries are being mismanaged internationally. Overfishing in any given body of water has become prominent in many nations today. Many populations depend on these fisheries that yield a variety of things, contributing to the issue of overfishing and mismanagement. Oftentimes, the issue of overfishing is accompanied by illicit fishing, causing a large amount of environmental damage. Unsustainable fishing has become too common, and must be prevented. It is the task of the United Nations Environmental Programme to take action and resolve this issue.

    Commercial fishing provides a great amount of services such as jobs, food sources, and international trade to many nations globally. The nation of Cuba recognizes and understands the importance of fishing, as this practice is extremely important to its own economy. In order to proceed in resolving the issue of protecting international fisheries, a series of questions first needs to be addressed. In what ways can enforcing legislation pertaining to sustainable fishing-such as total allowable catch- be diplomatically approached? How will the fact that some nations are more dependent on the practice of fishing than others be factored into the final resolution? In what ways can nations enforce sustainable fishing rates? As a common result of illegal fishing and overfishing is environmental degradation, how can current damage be repaired and how can further damage be mitigated?

    A cohesive resolution will include incentives and established legislation/programs to help answer the previously stated questions. The creation of marine management programs should be included in the final resolution. The Republic of Cuba has programs such as SOS Pesca that have been prominent in the process of regulating local fisheries. Such programs will be beneficial internationally, as they allow local community members participation in the regulation process. SOS Pesca is a community-based management program that allows members of fishing communities to participate in the management of fisheries and marine areas, working towards a shared vision of sustainable fisheries. The enforcement of science-based catch limits should also be included in a resolution. As overfishing is prominent, further, harsher enforcement of catch limits should be imposed in order to control fishing rates. To repair current damage made to marine environments, recovery plans for species affected by environmental degradation should be established in a resolution. Recovery plans should include aspects such as priority species, measures taken to aid in the recovery process, and precautions to be taken in the future so as to not further damage species.

    Strengthening networks between international fishing communities is an extremely important aspect in terms of reaching global sustainability. The potential to reach a universal solution is large. Working as an international community, a comprehensive resolution can be reached. The Republic of cuba looks forward to working with its fellow global community to reach a solution to the issues faced with the United Nations environmental Programme today.

  • Alexpadfield
    Alexpadfield November 15, 2017 Reply

    Date: November 1st, 2017
    SUBMITTED TO: The United Nations Environmental Programme
    FROM: Republic of Cuba
    SUBJECT: The Environmental Impact Of Mining

    Vital to any given human population, the practice of mining sustains many global economies, but at a cost- environmental disturbance. Producing negative effects such as deforestation, air pollution, soil pollution, and water pollution, the practice of mining has lead to landscape degradation in many areas around the world. Much of this environmental disruption results from lack of legislation that outlines a sustainable, enforced mining policy that takes measures to protect and regulate the use of mineral resources. With these incentives in mind, it is the task of the United Nations Environmental Program to develop a resolution with sound, sustainable environmental practices in terms of mining.

    Mining is crucial to the overall economy of Cuba, however it recognizes the negative effects that the practice has had on the environment. The practice of mining provides jobs, international trade, and subsequently vast economic benefits for Cuba. With a plethora of natural resources, environmental protection and preservation is of utmost importance to the nation Cuba. Keeping domestic and international needs in mind combined with the aspect of the environment, there are a variety of questions for the committee to discuss and hopefully answer. Keeping the fact that mining sustains many economies in mind, how can the environmental impacts of this practice be mitigated without completely banishing the practice? How can salient resources be preserved and rationalized, so as to in effect maintain ecological equilibrium? Implementing a universal system of standards and incentives to further economic development and preservation are critical, how should this be enforced?

    A solid resolution will encompass the solutions the aforementioned issues. The nation of Cuba has several pieces of legislation in place that combat these issues. For instance, Law 81 of 1997 establishes CITMA, a regulatory agency that has the power to to resolve environmental issues. Law 81 also requires the issuance of environmental impact assessments in order to engage in potentially environmentally harmful practices. Establishing regulatory agencies that develop and enforce an environmentally protective mining policy will be beneficial to the international community and should be included in the resolution. Such agencies should implement policies that specifically outline legal regulations and the development, protection, and rational use of mineral resources. Legislation that sets up an environmental inspection system for individual nations should be included in the resolution, as it would be internationally beneficial. This system should include the requirement of environmental impact assessments when engaging in an activity that could be harmful to the environment. EIAs have many merits in terms of taking measures to protect the environment from certain human practices. In addition to requiring permits and licenses to perform practices that may be environmentally harmful, specific limits on certain pollutants that can be discharged from a certain practice should be included, and if exceeded, fines shall be imposed. CITMA also includes various institutes that provide certain services, such as education programs, that are very beneficial when combating environmental issues. Cuba has witnessed vast benefits from programs such as these, and therefore believes the global implementation of local education programs should also be included in the resolution. As many global citizens remain ignorant about environmental issues imposed by mining, raising a general awareness on these matters will be a step in the right direction in terms of preventing environmental damage. The resolution should consist of sections that state measures that need to be taken to clear current and previous environmental damage created by mining. Measures that satisfy this should consist of building and implementing waste treatment facilities. In order to move forward and prevent further damage, previous damage needs to be taken care of first.

    As a united, international community the opportunity to protect global environments is vast. Working together and enforcing necessary means, a comprehensive resolution can be achieved. The delegation of Cuba looks forward to working with fellow nations to resolve the issue at hand.

    • Alexpadfield
      Alexpadfield November 22, 2017 Reply

      Date: November 1st, 2017
      SUBMITTED TO: The United Nations Environmental Programme
      FROM: Republic of Cuba
      SUBJECT: The Environmental Impact Of Mining
      Name: Alex Padfield

    • Alexpadfield
      Alexpadfield November 22, 2017 Reply

      Delegation: Cuba
      School: Royal Oak High School
      Name: Alexandra Padfield

  • Matthybels
    Matthybels November 15, 2017 Reply

    Country: Chile
    Committee: UNEP
    School: Vicksburg Highschools
    Topic: mining
    Matt Hybels

    We the country of Chile, do have some mining industry, but it takes up approximately 7% of our countries GDP. So all though it is not huge part of our economy, but it does play a role in our economy. So the country of Chile is against bills that hinder mining in favor of protecting the environment.

    • Matthybels
      Matthybels November 15, 2017 Reply

      This being said, we do believe that the environment should be protected, but not at the expense of industry. We do believe that the mining industry is harming the environment, but not at a rate that should be alarming. Mining is one of the oldest industries and and a vital role in many countries economies.

      Goals of this comity:
      To protect the mining industry across the world
      To protect the environment

  • Matthybels
    Matthybels November 15, 2017 Reply

    This being said, we do believe that the environment should be protected, but not at the expense of industry. We do believe that the mining industry is harming the environment, but not at a rate that should be alarming. Mining is one of the oldest industries and and a vital role in many countries economies.

    Goals of this comity:
    To protect the mining industry across the world
    To protect the environment

  • Mariapacifco
    Mariapacifco November 15, 2017 Reply

    November 14th, 2017
    SUBMITTED TO: United Nations Environmental Program
    FROM: Republic of Chad
    SUBJECT: Environmental Impact of Mining

    Mining is crucial for economic growth. Unfortunately, the effects of mining causes distress to the planet. Mining waste can lead to damages to land by creating sinkholes and damage ecosystems, especially when mining in economically sensitive areas. Mining can also cause air pollution. Air pollution can also lead to increase of water pollution, as evident in Lake Chad. Mining can also directly have an impact on water sources, due mineral processing or controlling dust. Damaging water sources and air also damages the people and their communities. Industrial accidents that are caused from limited labor laws can also not only damage the environment, but also the economy drastically. Mining though is important for the harvesting of minerals and resources for economy, but still has damaging environmental impacts.
    Chad has shifted gears and focused more time and money on mining activities, rather than agriculture, due to underdeveloped mining of natural resources such as gold and oil. Chad’s budget has invested 60% into petroleum. In 2018, Chad will have a petroleum, mining, and energy summit to hopefully revive and renew the mining laws of petroleum and make less of an environmental impact, but still boost the overall economy. Currently there are multiple developed nations, including the United States, who are exporting oil out of Chad. Nations who are exporting oil out of other nations must be able to abide to all the changes that this committee commits. About 20% of the Chad’s total labor force, is working into industry areas such as mining for oil. In the future, Chad hopes to expand the labor force and move it towards more industrial areas including mining.
    Chad has implemented laws in place that try to reduce Chad’s impact on the environment because of irresponsible mining. As stated in Title V, Article 66 of the Chad Mining Laws, “Activities governed by the Mining Code must be conducted so as to minimize their negative impact on the physical environment…in containing pollution in all its forms within acceptable standards under the Code or mining and environmental legislation.”
    Chad’s main concern is how do we limit the waste to product ratio without being overly expensive and/or difficult? And how will the change(s) affect the planet? Answering these questions in committee could hopefully help not only the environment but the overall damage to land that is used for mining and limit storage for waste. One way could be with the idea of reusing and recycling of materials to a) reduce waste and b) increase resource efficiency.
    This committee’s purpose is not to end mining, but to limit its environmental effect. Though it would be the quickest solution to just end all mining, the impacts would be drastic and hurt Chad and other nations severely. Chad is excited to work with other nations to hopefully find a solution to lessen the impact of climate change.

  • avatar image
    Jill Pierangeli November 15, 2017 Reply

    Environmental United Nations Environmental Programme
    The Environmental Impact of Mining
    Israel
    Jill Pierangeli

    Mining remains today one of the oldest and most important industries in the world. While mining creates many jobs and provides raw materials essential to life, there’s a severely negative environmental impact that must be handled. Mining projects damage water drainage systems, pollute the air, make land uninhabitable, and contaminate bodies of water. However, with proper precautions, the negative effects can be assuaged. The UN needs to implement guidelines for countries to follow to achieve the most limited environmental impact possible while keeping the mining industry alive.

    At the heart of Israel’s development is the road construction and building industry. Raw materials such as gravel, limestone, and sand are pivotal products quarried in Israel and used for construction. As important as mining is to us, we want to protect our land, water, and people. Our new plan being drafted (National Plan 14) is keeping in mind the detrimental environmental impact and solutions for the problems. The plan includes locating mines away from highly populated areas, in low topographical areas, and clustered around other mines as well as expanding old quarries instead of building new ones to reduce the spread of air pollution. It also sets guidelines for pre-planning flood prevention and aquifer water infiltration, and using resources efficiently (control supply through pricing and awareness and reducing the mining of raw materials with high environmental cost that can be found in other resources). Israel hopes to combat the negative effects of mining while still leaving room for mines to prosper.

    Israel encourages the UN to set guidelines similar to our National Plan 14. Mines should be kept away from high population areas, and kept out ecologically sensitive areas. This will protect people and landscapes from pollution. Instead of building new mines, mines and quarries should be expanded, or if new ones are necessary, cluster mining activity to reduce negative effects and sustain continuity. Wise planning is also an important part in protecting the environment. To control wasteful mining, resource supply and pricing should be controlled, as well as limiting the mining of raw materials with high environmental costs and better alternatives. A resolution with these reforms will keep an industry as important as mining from destroying the environment.

  • Jessica_Robach
    Jessica_Robach November 15, 2017 Reply

    Country: Germany
    Committee: Environmental
    Topic: The Environmental Impact of Mining
    Delegate: Jessica Robach
    School: WIlliamston High School

    Mining has been a crucial component of human civilization for at least 40,000 years. However, it has become impossible for the international community to deny the profound and alarming impacts that these practices can have on the global environment. It has been proven that various mining practices contribute to poor air quality, chemical contamination, and landscape alteration. Mining practices vary greatly around the world. Practices such as open-pit mining, underwater excavations, and offshore drilling all negatively impact the environment. Despite the significant environmental repercussions of mining, it is crucial to note that the impact of a given mine depends on a multitude of factors. These factors include the overall size of the mining operation, the resource being extracted, and the method being used at the mining site. Assessing this information allows for the international community to institute policies to further protect the global environment and mitigate the impacts of mining.
    The delegation of Germany has sought to safeguard the environment for decades, and will continue to do so. The efforts began with the Federal Mining Act of 1980. This act provided a single unified “regulatory regime” and vastly improved mining practices throughout the nation. This act clearly states that any deleterious impact on exploration and extraction must be kept to an absolute minimum. Another integral part of the policy is mine closure planning. If the measures of a given mine are not deemed sufficient, it can be shut down by the government. The Health and Safety Mining Ordinance of 1991 also helps to alleviate the safety concerns of practices. The Federal General Mining Ordinance of 1995 included a more detailed set of legislation following the Federal Mining Act of 1980. Despite these measures and provisions, there is still more the delegation can do to ensure the environmental sustainability of mining practices.
    The delegation of Germany seeks to fortify social development, economic stability, and environmental protection on a global scale. The main aspect of German mining policies is to implement integrated risk protection with strict requirements on procedure, safety measures, and environmental impact. To ensure that these measures are effective, Germany also plans to employ new mechanisms for compliance and monitoring of mining practices. The delegation intends to implement policies that fall under a strict uniform structure. This will cultivate a comprehensive resolution that can address all aspects of mining, as well as allow practices to be monitored by an administrative body. These policies can be employed alongside nations of the international community in order to promote safe and environmentally conscious practices throughout the world.

  • Chammerberg099
    Chammerberg099 November 15, 2017 Reply

    Country: Serbia
    Committee: Environmental
    Topic: The Environmental Impact of Mining
    Delegate: Chase Hammerberg
    School: Mattawan High School

    Mining is one of the world’s oldest forms of industry, dating back tens of thousands of years. In the modern world with new technologies and new concerns for environmental preservation, the United Nations Environmental Committee is taking action in order to regulate mining and help improve the conditions in which Miners work under. Mining has many negative affects on the environment such carbon emissions, pollution of safe drinking water, and destruction of the environment.
    Serbia is the 7th largest producer of coal in Europe, and the 3rd largest producer of copper in Europe. In 2013 alone mining in Serbia made up 2% of the GDP and employed around 22,000 Serbian people. The Serbian mining industry has made a large comeback recently and provided a much needed support system after years of turmoil with neighboring countries. Serbia would not be interested in any environmental protections set by the United Nations as the Serbian law on Environmental Protection sets the standard for all environmental protections in the nation.
    Mining in Serbia can be of help to the more than 11% of unemployed Serbs, providing stable jobs for them and stable incomes for their families. The environmental concerns associated with mining are of little concern to Serbia as the industry provides so much for the nation. Already in Serbia the nation requires that any company desiring to use land for mining purposes must first submit the required papers, as well as an environmental impact studies and an environmental protection plan. If the plans infringe on public water supply natural beauty or other natural necessities they will be rejected. Serbia wishes to be left alone to form their own protections and mining regulations so that regulations possibly formed by the United Nations do not infringe on the economy or prosperity of Serbia.

  • Rachelthomas04
    Rachelthomas04 November 15, 2017 Reply

    United Nations Environmental Programme
    The Environmental Impact of Mining
    United States of America
    Rachel Thomas

    Mining is a fundamental part of the world’s economy. Globally, the formal mining sector employs more than 3.7 million workers, and more than 20 million workers are employed in small scale mining. Although mining is beneficial for the economy, the environmental effects are not as laudable. The most common problems with mining include the exceeding amount of waste products such as overburden, waste rock, tailings, slags, and mine water. These byproducts of mining are deteriorating the environment, leading to toxic chemical exposure, increased air pollution, altered drainage patterns, and dangerous levels of carbon monoxide (from underground coal mining fires).

    The United States is home to an abundance of resources, with reserves of more metals and minerals than any other country. Our country acknowledges the need for the resources that mining provides; therefore, we have measures in place to regulate the environmental impact on air, land, and water. The Clean Air Act has propagated many of these ideas. The National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) is regulated by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and sets the national level for certain air pollutants such as carbon monoxide, lead, nitrogen dioxide, ozone, particle pollution, and sulfur dioxide. Each area is responsible for upholding the NAAQS through any approach that works best for them. The Utility Maximum Achievable Control Technology Rule (UMACT) was established in February 2012, and imposes numerical limits on mercury emissions from electrical generating units that burn coal or oil. The Clean Water Act (CWA) regulates the policy for pollutants in the water and regulating standards for surface waters. Coal mining often requires permits from the CWA because the CWA prohibits the discharge of pollutants to United States’s waters without a permit. This results in mining operations conducted in a safe manner towards human and aquatic health. There are two typical CWA permits: Section 404 and 402. Section 404 requires that mining programs coordinate with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to ensure that disposal of fill material proceeds in an environmentally conscious manner that does not disrupt navigation of waters in the U.S. Section 402 permits, also known as National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permits, are issued by the EPA. These permits authorize the discharge from point sources into federal waters and ensure that they do not disrupt the required water quality standard or exceed the liquid discharge guidelines established by the NPDES. . Federal lands, comprised of nearly 700 million acres, supply a significant amount of mineral necessities. Detailed plans for how land will be restored are made before mining commences. Reclamation bonds, a promise that ensures that the company responsible for mining is also responsible for the cleanup, are posted by companies to ensure completion of the entire process. Reclamation includes contouring of land, placement of topsoil, reseeding with native vegetation, and years of monitoring to assure success. Earlier in 2017, Donald Trump signed an executive order that repealed former President Obama’s coal mining rule. The bill eliminated the Office of Surface Mining’s Stream Protection Rule, which was a regulation protecting waterways from coal mining waste. Additionally, in March of 2017, Trump signed an order to dismantle Obama’s Clean Power Plan, a plan that sought to limit carbon emissions and enforced tight regulations on coal-powered plants. This past June, we left the Paris Climate Agreement, where we had originally agreed to reduce greenhouse gases by 28% by 2025. The United States acknowledges the need for environmental regulation, but stresses the importance of maintaining the economy, especially the coal mining sector.

    The United States recognizes the essential nature of mining in a prosperous economy, as the mining industry amounted to 109.6 billion dollars in 2016. The U.S. recommends that other nations follow our lead by creating environmental policies that limit air and water pollutants from mining, enforcing reclamation bonds with all companies to ensure the restoration of federal lands, and requiring permits for mining excavations from point sources. However, we should impose lenient regulations, as our economy should take precedence over the environment. Through these measures, the people, communities, and habitats surrounding mining sites will be financially happier, and healthier.

  • BradenP
    BradenP November 15, 2017 Reply

    SUBMITTED TO: United Nations Environment Programme
    FROM: Russian Federation
    SUBJECT: The Environmental Impact of Mining
    Braden Porterfield

    In order to meet UNDP sustainable development goals, specifically Goal 13-Climate action, and goal 7-affordable and clean energy, the current rate at which fossil fuels are mined may need to be monitored. Keeping this in mind, mining cannot be stopped abruptly to meet goals: 1-No poverty, 8-Decent work and economic growth, 9-Industry innovation and infrastructure and 11- Sustainable cities and communities. In countries where mining in one way or another is the main source of domestic revenue it would be impossible to meet many, if not any of these goals. It seems like a choice between environment or economy, but there is a safe middle-ground if we look.

    Russia is one of the world’s leading producers of oil and natural gas, and is also a top exporter of metals such as steel and primary aluminum. Our economy is largely based on mining done by private enterprises. These businesses could be easily regulated if they operated entirely in our economic jurisdiction, but they don’t. The Natural gas companies that exist in our country have bases of operation in Tajikistan,Serbia, even some European countries. Many of which are places that would not have functioning infrastructure without our continued business there. It would undermine the ideas of national sovereignty if we were to apply our reforms to these countries.

    Regulations to the mining process are undoubtedly needed. Extraction processes like fracking or deep mining can create land that is no longer arable, unable to produce any value. These are the issues that can, and should be discussed.The way to continue sustainable development is through nation’s individual efforts to constantly update their domestic policy in order to maintain its environmentally friendliness. You could make this work through, for example, an international non-fracking coalition: a group that only grants membership to nations that are proven to have not used their land for fracking. This would create a better environment for everyone, and give the Russian businesses a better use of the land that they have access to.

    In the end, we want to create a lasting change in the environment, the economy, and the world as a whole by promoting true sustainable development. Development that will last for generations, and will benefit everyone in the process.

  • Joeheitmeier
    Joeheitmeier November 15, 2017 Reply

    United Nations Environmental Programme
    The Environmental Impact of Mining
    Argentine Republic
    Joe Heitmeier

    Mining is one of the oldest industries known to mankind, but it also one of the most environmentally degrading industries. The amount of waste material that is extracted greatly exceeds the amount of desirable material that is discovered. Mine “tailings” often consist of toxic substances which must be kept contained, and the water used in mining generally not safe for release back into the environment. Shaft mines and other underground mining methods have caused underground collapse, coal mine fires have rendered many areas uninhabitable due to carbon monoxide, and dust plumes from large-scale mining operations have caused significant air pollution.

    Mining activity has grown steadily in the Argentine Republic (thereafter Argentina) in the past 20 years. The enactment of the Mining Investment Law No. 24,196 provided tax benefits to mining companies, and helped contribute to this growth. Argentina has considerable potential for further development of its mining industry. With a more favorable international climate and domestic exchange rate, investment in the mining industry after 2002 soared. According to the Argentine National Constitution, each province in Argentina can decide for themselves how to regulate the mining industry. Because of this, regulation of the industry is very limited. However, the national government has enacted the Argentine Mining Code (AMC). National Law No. 24,585, which has been incorporated in the AMC, requires individuals or entities seeking to mine in a specific area to first file an environmental impact statement (EIS). If the EIS complies with the standards set by Law No. 24,585, an environmental impact declaration is issued and allows the entity to develop the land. In addition, hazardous waste generation is regulated both at the provincial and federal level. Open pit mining and the utilisation of cyanide has been banned in the Chubut and Mendoza provinces. Executive Order No. 249/2007 requires mining companies to formulate internal health and safety programmes as well as enforce a health and hygiene service. As mining is a big industry in Argentina, Argentina hopes to minimize economic impact without negatively affecting the productivity of the industry.

    Argentina suggests the UN encourage regulations similar to that of Argentina’s Argentine Mining Code (AMC). This will ensure the safe development of mining sites, and ensure the regulation of hazardous waste. Argentina also encourages the UN to develop a system in which countries are required to enforce health and safety programmes, as well as hygiene services, in the mining industry.

  • Priya.patel
    Priya.patel November 15, 2017 Reply

    United Nations Environment Programme
    The Environmental Impact of Mining
    Kingdom of Norway
    Priya Patel

    In many nations around the world, mining is a large and very important part of the economy. In the second quarter of 2017, GDP from mining in Norway was 1317 NOK million. However, despite the economic benefits of mining, the environmental impacts must be considered as well. The mining of metals and industrial minerals means processing large amounts of rock of which over 90% are residual materials, or tailings, for which there are few uses, and only a few percent are profitable metals and minerals. Various chemicals are used to separate the minerals from the tailings. Negative environmental impacts of mining include, but are not limited to underground collapse, seismic anomalies, carbon monoxide pollution, alteration of water resources, chemical leachings in water, and oil spills. It is imperative that, to reduce its environmental impact, the mining industry finds alternative uses for the tailings it produces, reduces its use of chemicals, and develops compounds that can replace environmentally hazardous chemicals.

    Norway is richly endowed with minerals and boasts a profitable mining industry. As one of the world’s leading exporters of petroleum, we are very involved in oil drilling and production. The petroleum sector makes up about 9% of jobs, 12% of GDP, 13% of the state’s revenue, and 37% of exports. In 2016, over 225,000 people were employed in the mining and quarrying sector. Mining is extensively regulated by our government. One measure taken to minimize environmental impacts of mining is the requirement of environmental impact assessments (EIA) for large mining projects. The Minerals Act contains environmental provisions and procedures to reduce negative environmental impacts. In Norway, tailings are often deposited in fjords, which pollutes them. The Pollution Control Act requires pollution permits for mining projects and contains rules concerning tailings. Norway’s current objective is to map 75% of the mainland in terms of mineral resources by 2018. This will aid in planning sustainable and efficient mining projects. A weakness in Norwegian mining regulation is our reliance on local authorities in mineral mining cases, however we are working towards moving primary responsibility for environmental regulations over mineral mining to the central government.

    Norway suggests that the UN play an active role in establishing mine waste disposal sites. They should also encourage increased reusing and recycling of metals and mineral products to form the basis for more efficient mining practices. The UN must aid in the development and implementation of industrial accident prevention and preparedness programmes, including the promotion of Awareness and Preparedness for Emergency at the local level (APELL). To transition the international mining industry to sustainable and environmentally friendly practices, the UN should consider launching a Global Initiative for Sustainable Mining. This program could allow for clear and uniform policies between the public and private sectors and international development institutions. Considering the rapid decline in environmental conditions over the last decade, it is crucial that the UN take action to limit the harmful environmental impacts of mining internationally.

  • Cmacher21
    Cmacher21 November 15, 2017 Reply

    Topic: Environmental Impacts of Mining
    Submitted to: The United Nations Environmental Programme
    Country: The Federal Republic of Nigeria
    Delegate: Colin Assenmacher

    Many modern methods of mining are reaching deeper, and operating at a much higher efficiency than ever before. Today’s society continues to push for new ways to mine these natural resources and strives for more effective ways to obtain these materials. While this increase in productivity and efficiency has reaped major economic benefits, the surrounding environment has suffered from many resulting issues. Three main forms of environmental stresses that result from mining activities; acid mine drainage, air pollutants and solid wastes. All of these by products of mining play a large role in what scientists and the international community alike consider to be an environmental issue. Over the recent years, the amount of unregulated mining has significantly increased, especially in less developed nations. This in turn has lead to an alarming spike in the amount of contaminated resources and land across the globe. Many acts and regulations have been imposed and attempted enforcement has occurred, but a true set of international standards are still absent.
    As a nation whose economy relies heavily on the excavation of oil, Nigeria remains highly involved in this issue. With the drop in oil prices over the past few years, the Nigerian people have been forced to deal with an extreme economic depression. Added onto the fact that 62% of Nigerians live in extreme poverty, the detrimental effects that would ensue from an oil or mining deterioration, would be disastrous. Nigeria hopes that these environmental talks can help to bolster mining within our borders, especially in regards to crude oil. Crude oil production has been on the rise throughout the world, but as a member of Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) the majority of the world’s crude oil reserves fall under our jurisdiction. Overall, all members of OPEC should remain relevant any discussion that involves changes in mining operations of any degree.
    Throughout the international community, there is a recognition that mining is impacting the surrounding environment and casts a negative impact upon all surrounding life. Nigeria hopes to see a solution reached that ensures both environmental protection and preservation without influencing the economic value of mining. We also do recognize the need to diminish the overall effect that mining has on the surrounding area, especially in lesser developed nations. Overall, Nigeria hopes that these environmental regulations or guidelines can be enforced, without having an extreme affect on the economic prosperity that mining brings.

  • JaredJohnson
    JaredJohnson November 15, 2017 Reply

    Country: France
    committee: UNEP
    Delegate: Jared Johnson
    In the past France has been very uptight with the restrictions of mining. The last coal active coal mine was closed in France 2004, natural gas fracking was banned in 2011 and exploring license held by companies such as Schuepbach and Total SA. With a new administration, France has shifted its policies on mining both at a national level and a global level. In order to stimulate our economy, France supports the exploration and the mining of natural resources in France, and around the world with a heavy emphasis of the mining of uranium on France soil, and the mining of earth metals such as lithium and tungsten globally. Despite France’s stance, France is still very concerned with the environmental consequences that mining ( especially in an irresponsible manner) can cause and it is still determined to be carbon neutral by 2050. France’s President Emmanuel Macron states “We must admit that there is no ‘ex ante zero risk’. This ….means selecting independent experts… and having a democratic and technical debate before authorizing a [mining] project.” France aims to use sustainable mining techniques to reduce the environmental impact caused by mining projects, such tactics include, but are not limited to: recycling the materials from the tailing process, recycling the water used in the pumping process of mining to eliminate evaporation pools, using the situ mining method when opening new mines whenever possible, and using cleaner energy resources such as natural gas to power active mining sites. France is still committed to using these environmental sustainable tactics when mining and would encourage other countries to follow France’s lead in taking actions to mine responsibly in order to reduce the environmental impact.

  • HeatherSteeby
    HeatherSteeby November 15, 2017 Reply

    Topic: Environmental Impact of Mining
    Country: Sweden
    Committee: UNEP
    Sweden is one of the largest mining nations in the EU. Swedish ore directly creates employment for around 4,000 people most in sparsely populated areas, and it is extremely important to the development of these areas. The mining of ore is an ecologically sensitive issue. It is therefore important to have rules (Minerals Act, Environmental Code and other laws) this allows for safe development and prevents ecological catastrophe. However we cannot condemn the mining of ore outright as it is a key aspect to many economies, and is extremely important for development, as more and more people are exiting poverty, furthering development.

    We must find a way for mining to happen in harmony with the environment as well as local culture. We propose that the basic rule should be that land and water areas are to be used for the purpose or purposes for which they are best suited, priority shall be given to use that promotes good management from a public interest point of view. This may include the use of mining for precious minerals, as well as the ecological preservation of wild areas. The practice of mining does have potential to cause ecological distress but, is a vital resource, and important business sector. Mining can coexist with native peoples as well as the environment, Sweden is of the belief that any ecological impact from mining can be managed through Sweden supports the GARD guide as currently proposed and we recommend a further development that includes a proposition for more devotion to research of mining impacts on the environment, and development of potential solutions.

  • avatar image
    Kacie Rispler November 15, 2017 Reply

    Committee: Environmental
    Topic: The Environmental Impact of Mining
    Country: Saudi Arabia

    Almost all of Saudi Arabia’s economy revolves around mining and the extraction of other natural resources including natural gas, iron ore, gold, and copper. We possesses around 22 per cent of the world’s petroleum and first started drilling for oil in March 1938. The General Authority of Meteorology and Environmental Protection, or PME, is our environmental protection agency that handles all environmental policies. Some environmental impacts associated with our oil industry are hydraulic fracturing, oil spills, and air pollution. The PME is taking steps to restore the environment including coastal restoration projects from oil contamination.
    Our policies on the environment and development are based on principles of Islam which have ordained people to thrive and inhabit the earth as the primary function of humankind. Our Arabia’s Ministerial Committee on Environment (MCE) supports the UN on its actions to help the environment like being part of Meteorology and Environmental Protection Administration (MEPA). Currently we have an array of operational requirements, engineering standards, and performance guidelines to implement new policies. Some including sanitary codes, environmental assessments, bioremediation, air quality and emission standards, noise-control regulations, landfill standards, water recycling procedures, hazardous material disposal rules, and oil spill contingency plans.
    Our goal in committee is to get together with other major oil drilling countries and come up with a common procedure to protect the ocean when shipping oil to different countries and how oil drilling companies can decrease the amount of pollution they caused. Many countries should take advantage of all the new technological development, in an effort decrease pollution. We really care about the environment and want other countries too as well, even though in the past we have caused some pollution we are working on cleaning up our environment to sustain it for later generations.

  • Kuhlmann27
    Kuhlmann27 November 15, 2017 Reply

    Country: South Korea
    Committee: UNEP
    Topic: The Environmental Impact of Mining
    Hannah Kuhlmann
    Unregulated mining is one of the biggest environmental problems today. Mining can release harmful substances into water, soil, and air. The amount of ore needed for open pit mining is absurd and something needs to be changed about it immediately. The General Mining Act of 1872 is a federal law that authorizes prospecting and mining for economic reasons. The South African Mining Law is regulated by the Mineral and Petroleum Resources Development Act (MPRDA). This covers common issues in mining regulations and laws. This includes the mechanics of acquisition of rights, foreign ownership, and indigenous ownership restrictions. Although these are all acts that will lead the world into the right direction, there is still a lot to be done. In a small town in the United States of America, there have been over 30 cases of brain tumors. When people started to connect the dots, they pointed fingers at a coal mining plant that is a few miles up the mountain on which they live. Less than 1 percent of the whole population will get a brain tumor. In this community of under 200 people, the number is exponentially higher. This is example of why the process of mining, even if regulated, needs to be changed immediately.
    South Korea believes that there needs to be one very strict law that every country will need to follow. This way there will be no question as to what miners can and can’t do. This list will make sure that mining companies can’t harm a nearby community, bodies of water, or change the environment from what it looked like in the past. These will be put into place with very harsh consequences if not followed. Mining companies shall not be able to to continue mining if these laws are broken.

  • Abbylawrence
    Abbylawrence November 15, 2017 Reply

    United Nations Environment Programme
    The Environmental Impact of Mining
    Afghanistan
    Abigail Lawrence

    Mining retains an increasingly significant position in the worldwide economy. Despite its growth in economic importance, mining has remained relatively unregulated. This lack of regulation has allowed for an alarming amount of pollution and environmental destruction that impacts both the surrounding population and the environment. Mining encompasses all extraction of resources from the Earth’s crust including oil drilling, fracking, and mineral extraction. Such activities contaminate the environment with harmful, toxic mixtures and lead to collapse, sinkholes, underground fires, and oil spills. The toxic mixture, or mine tailings, pollute the surrounding water systems making it inhabitable. Such events lead to increased carbon dioxide, methane, and soot in the atmosphere as well as irreversible damage to ecosystems because of water contamination due to radioactive slurries and oil spills. And given that there are more than 2,000 oil platforms existing only in the Gulf of Mexico, the consequences of oil spills could destroy the oceanic ecosystems. In addition, attempts to rehabilitate the affected areas have failed to restore the ecological conditions that existed prior to mining. Due to the increase in mining, both the unsustainability and the impact of the devastating consequences also continue to increase.

    Mining remains essential in Afghanistan’s future economic growth due to increases in investment and the value of minable resources. Within Afghanistan, there are over 1,400 mineral fields, including natural gas and petroleum, that are estimated to be worth three trillion US dollars that remain unexcavated according to the Afghan Geological Survey. The Ministry of Mines’ national mining policy encourages mining by both private and commercial operations for economic growth while still requiring transparency in order to minimize corruption. However, the policy also enforces extensive preparation before mining commences in order to improve environment protection and lessen the environmental damage due to mining. Such extensive preparation includes Environmental Impact and Social Assessment as well as an Environmental Management Plan which includes waste control, pollution reduction, and removal of excess material that can cause potential harm. The Ministry of Mines’ policy also opened a considerable amount of the country to mining, but it still maintained the ability to conserve minerals and close mining zones when necessary for environmental health. These policies are enforced by both the Ministry of Mines and the National Environmental Protection Agency. On an international level, Afghanistan has had limited involvement in discussing mining regulations and safeguards.

    Afghanistan proposes international environmental regulation of mining but opposes mining quotas because they impede economic recovery. Environmental regulation should include required planning prior to the commencement of mining. Such planning should incorporate ways in which pollution can remain controlled and minimized, a plan for the rehabilitation of the surrounding environment, as well as financing for such plans. These plans should address all possible contamination that can occur while mining as well as plans to counter, avoid, or minimize the contamination. If mining continues to grow without regulation, then the world’s environmental health will continue to worsen until action is taken to prevent further pollution and contamination.

  • Calvinwatry
    Calvinwatry November 15, 2017 Reply

    Republic of Colombia
    UNEP
    Environmental Impacts of Mining
    Calvin Watry, Roeper School

    Mining has an undoubtful impact on the environment, whether it be from transporting goods from one location to another, the process of mining or the excess amount of waste produced when mining, from water to waste materials. However, mining is a necessary evil in the world’s economy, especially in Colombia. Colombia is the 4th largest exporter of coal and relies heavily on mining for the economic advantages it produces for the nation. Mining is an essential part of many nations’ economies, therefore, since many nations rely on it then the environmental impact is large. Efforts must be made to regulate mining, especially regarding waste materials. When a mine is established, in any form, and when mining begins there is often a goal for a select few substances to be retrieved through the mining process, and when these select few substances are retrieved from the earth, a lot of not needed materials is extracted with it, and then these materials are discarded. Another large environmental factor produced from mining is the impact on surrounding bodies and sources of water.
    Colombia believes that regulations and guidelines must be put in place by a body of the UN to regulate mines’ wasted materials, and what they do with it. These regulations must touch upon the impact mining has on sources of water in the surrounding area, and establish a recommended range away from bodies of water that is available to mining.

  • Morganr730
    Morganr730 November 15, 2017 Reply

    United Nations Environmental Committee
    The Environmental Impact of Mining
    The Republic of Uganda
    Morgan Russell

    Shaft mines and other underground techniques such as fracking lead to underground collapse, forming sinkholes and other seismic anomalies. Underground coal mine fires have rendered large regions uninhabitable, largely due to carbon monoxide. Dust plumes from large-scale mining operations severely increase the atmospheric concentration of fine particulates, and especially when combined with the large diesel generators commonly used in remote areas lead to significant air pollution. All forms of terrestrial mining have a severe impact on local and regional water resources, due both to the alteration of drainage patterns and to the diversion of water to the mining project itself. Water used for mining is generally not safe for release back into the environment and must be processed so that it does not poison the local ecosystem, whether with chemical leachings from exposed minerals or with industrial fluids. The materials extracted may themselves be hazardous, with oil spills both terrestrially and at sea causing untold damage. Countries, such as China, are extracting an exceptional amount of gold from the earth. In 2012, China produced 403 tonnes of gold, accounting for 13.7% of the global gold production that year. Although mining is on the rise, there is a lack of treaties and laws regulating mining. However, there are still some groups, such as the NGO Mining Working Group (MWG), that is a coalition of NGOs that advocate through the United Nations for environmental and human rights associated with extractive industries.

    Mining has contributed greatly to our country. In Uganda, we have been dependent on mining in order to support our economy. In 2014, Uganda completed a USD 75 million national mineral survey that identified resources such as uranium, tin, coltan, nickel, copper, and gold across the country. Throughout 1950-1960 those identified resources contributed to 30% of our total exports. However, in Mubende, where an abundance of gold is located, mining was shut down by the government. It was closed down due to unsafe mining practices and the absence of mining licenses. Despite laws and regulations, the licensing process has been compromised by widespread bribery and political patronage. The Mining Act of 2003 authorizes the ownership and control of all minerals in Uganda in the Government. In addition to regulating the mining sector, the Act also provides that a woman may be employed underground and it also provides that preference should be given for the employment of Uganda citizens. The mining industry is also regulated by the Department of Geological Survey and Mines (DGSMs). Global Witness alleges that Uganda’s mining sector is built primarily on endemic corruption and mismanagement at the expense of the Ugandan people, environment, and economy. Our government is currently collaborating with the World Bank and Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) to reform its mining legislation and policy. Under the Mining Law 2018, there will be a renewed version that covers common issues in mining laws and regulations. In order to end the corruption, exposed in Mubende, the government hopes this law will be more effective than the previous laws and regulations that were emplaced.

    Uganda proposes to the United Nations to implement laws that will boost regulatory capacity and an increase of reviewal of existing licenses to encouraging transparency and oversight. If the government can raise standards in the sector and confront endemic mismanagement, there’s a chance to build a functional framework. Our President, Yoweri Museveni, pushes that money is not being wasted and progress is made. We know firsthand the effects that political instability and corruption can have on a country. In order to prevent this, the UN can eliminate any divisional conflict by implementing stronger laws. Mining is essential to our country’s success, so a steady supply of minerals is necessary. Therefore, mining areas must be controlled and regulated. We call for countries to work together to reach a common goal.

  • Gabriellahernandez
    Gabriellahernandez November 15, 2017 Reply

    United Nations Environment Program
    The Environmental Impact of Mining
    Algeria
    Gabriella Hernandez

    Mining has changed drastically in the last century. From underground to open-pit techniques in the more developed countries, more and more countries are reliant on mining in their economies. Algeria has the 10th largest natural gas reserve, and is the 6th largest gas exporter. Algeria also is the 16th in proven oil reserves, and thanks to that has a cushion of over 160 billion dollars in foreign currency reserves. Over 40 countries all over the world have been involved in mining in the past 100 years. Such successes have made more countries involved in mining, and more mining has more environmental impact.

    The practice of mining has effects on human health, human living and the natural environment. Mining activities constitute a major source of toxic metals in the environment. There are many laws in place in multiple countries that regulate pollution from mining. In Canada, there is regulation on the water discharged from the mines must meet federal water quality standards. This may be different in developing countries where environmental protection is of the least concern. Algeria, being as high a producer of minerals and metals, does not constitute any regulations on the mining. There was a study in Azzaba, located in the Northeastern district of Algeria, which is a mercury mining town. The blood of over 200 workers was collected, and the Hg concentration of up to 53.9 Hg/L (in which the safest is 15 mg Hg/L). Most of the mercury had been from air ingestion, from the pollution leaking of the abandoned mines which had not been regulated.

    Algeria has strong islamic values. In the Qur’an it is mentioned that Allah (God) shows signs of – linking creation with divine revelation and seeing the environment as testimony to Allah’s all-encompassing presence [24,25]. It teaches that we are not more than Janitor’s for the earth and we shall clean it and care for it as well as Allah has. This leads room to believe that Algeria has room for improvement on the development of regulating laws for the environmental impacts of mining, as it already does on over-grazing land and water purity.

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  • ACalderwood
    ACalderwood November 15, 2017 Reply

    United Nations Environmental Program
    The Environmental Impact of Mining
    Kingdom of Spain
    Alex Calderwood

    Mining has always had a negative impact on the environment, but due to the overwhelming change in the global climate as of the past 100 years- and its current dire state- these negative effects have been more pronounced. Spain is no stranger to the harmful effects of mining. In 1998, a mine in southern Spain had a dam breakage, which leaked 1.3 billion gallons of toxic slurry into a nearby river. The cleanup costed Spain 280 million USD, and caused massive damage to fish, birds, and other wildlife. In a more recent study, arsenic levels in the soil near a mine in Salamanca, Spain have risen to over 1000 mg/L, an immensely harmful number considering normal soil levels are about 3 mg/L.

    At the same time, the Kingdom of Spain is very reliant on its mining. Spain is the world’s 3rd largest producer of Gypsum, its 6th largest producer of fluorite, and its 8th largest producer of cement. Altogether, mining and related industry generates 52.58 billion USD in exports for Spain annually. This being said, Spain would like to work towards a solution that does not severely hamper the mining industry, yet works to solve the problem of mining’s harmful environmental impact.

    It would be wise for the international community to not insist on restrictions to mining itself, but rather regulate the processes of mining. One such example would be to abolish cyanide leaching, a process of mining gold and silver in which cyanide is used to separate the materials from their ores. A recent study by Northwestern University in Chicago, USA has discovered that a method using corn starch can be just as effective. On the issue of carbon monoxide making a region inhabitable, incentivizing more alternative methods of energy will decrease the necessity of fossil fuels, so coal will become less mined. Spain currently has the largest some of the largest solar, wind, and tidal farms in Europe, all producing many gigawatts of clean electricity. These are just some of the suggestions that the Kingdom of Spain would like to see addressed in the following committee.

  • CBishop
    CBishop November 15, 2017 Reply

    Country: Greece
    Committee: Environmental
    Topic: The Environmental Impact of Mining
    Delegate: Cyrus Bishop
    School: Vicksburg High School

    Mining is an important and valuable industry for Greece and for the World. However, there are many environmental issues involved, such as polluting the air, water, and valuable farming soil. While mining is important to Greece, the land, and water that could be damaged by toxic runoff from mines are even more so, as fishing and agriculture are the most profitable businesses. Companies such as the Eldorado Mining company have started debates about environmentally minded parts of the Greek Mining Code, such as, is it strict enough, by mining in areas with a high arsenic content and potentially damaging the nearby ecosystems, polluting the air and lowering groundwater levels in order to be able to mine for more material, while materials explosive in nature, such as dynamite and AMFO destroy the ground and mountains where plants such as chickpeas, lentils, olives, and grapes are grown. Common mining practices also ruin tourism locations, a prime source of money for Greece.Greece has attempted to solve these problems with The Mining Code, passed 1973, and updated in 1976, ’77, and ’84, which, while improving mining practices and regulating them, did not have as large as an effect as was hoped for. Greece hopes to solve these problems by tightening restrictions on unsafe mining practices, increasing penalties on breaking regulations, and update mining regulations to better control the destructive effect mining has on the land, water and air of Greece. And finally, Greece is looking forward to working with the EU, US, Italy, France, and Bulgaria.

  • GZPperson
    GZPperson November 15, 2017 Reply

    United Nations Environment Programme
    The Environmental Impact of Mining
    Kingdom of Belgium
    Ian Blackman-Staves
    City High School

    The Kingdom of Belgium is in favor of broad international regulations and oversight over more specific regional policy that is tailored to the soil composition and mining focuses of each area.

    The mining industry differs greatly from place to place and from resource to resource. Some of the practices can be very harmful to the environment and the people who live around the mining operations, and overexploitation leads to an unsustainable industry. Waste management is difficult, as many mining techniques produce contaminated water that cannot be released back into the environment. Unchecked mining can cause even more problematic geological phenomena. However, t is important to maintain strong and sustainable local mining operations for four main reasons. For one, we do not currently have alternatives for all mined resources and therefore rely heavily on them. Secondly, limiting any regional mining operations would lead to further imports of raw materials, leading to unsustainable mining practices elsewhere. Thirdly, many industrial activities are heavily reliant on local mining activities. Lastly, transportation is both economically and environmentally costly, so continued local mining operations would be much more efficient.

    Under article 6 of the law of the reform of 1980, Belgium’s mining regulations are delegated to the individual regions of Belgium rather than the national government. In the Walloon Region, mining is a large part of the economy, although it has been in decline since the Second World War due to international competition in the coal industry. Because of this, a large part of the mining industry in the Walloon Region has moved towards chalk and dolomite quarries. Wallonia’s mining industry provides up to 16000 indirect and direct jobs. The Walloon Regional Act on quarries (4 July 2002) forces mining companies to have an environmental permit. This permit is only given if the mining company aligns with the regional plans and waste and water treatment. Under the 2008 decree on mining waste management, each mining program must draw up a plan for waste management and give a report every five years. In the Flemish region, the 2003 Decree on Surface Mineral Resources ensures sustainable mining practices, in order to guarantee continued mining possibilities as well as protecting the environment. The special plans of surface mineral resources (BOD) are used in addition to the general plan of surface mineral resources (which is primarily based upon market analysis) by taking into account the ecological and health impacts of specific mining sites to allocate space for mining operations.

    The situations surrounding mining operations vary wildly. Every aspect of every mining operation, from the amount of local industry that relies on the mining, to the type of mining and the specific environmental impacts, down to the smallest detail such as the soil type needs to be taken into account when evaluating it. Because of this, strict international laws are too cumbersome for this type of regulation. Instead, we need collective international oversight to ensure a level of safety and environmental consideration in all operations (including regulations for waste management, maximum regional quotas, and human rights considerations), but more specific regional policies with regard to their own programs. The BOD in the Flemish region are a great example of the success of these policies. The special plans for gravel mining set a quota and a goal for reduction of gravel production, which was successful. Not even the national government, and certainly the UN could not supply such consideration of detail in decisions regarding regional mining operations.

  • Matthew.katz
    Matthew.katz November 15, 2017 Reply

    Country: Republic of Peru
    Committee: Environmental
    School: FH Northern High School
    Topic: The Environmental Impact of Mining
    Delegate: Matthew Katz

    The environmental impact of mining can be extremely harsh when done incorrectly. It is dangerous and can be toxic to the earth if not monitored. A major contribution to harmful mining is that done illegally. It can create dangerous environments for people to live in and be surrounded by and can have long term harmful effects on those it affects.
    Peru has avidly fought to stop the advancement of illegal mining, much to the chagrin of the citizens in rural Peru who have long protested the shut down of illegal mines. These mines are what helps to propel the economy in rural areas, but the government has urged these mines to apply for a permit and to run things correctly and safely. Being Peru’s largest export and making up a humongous part of their job market, it is a very necessary act for Peru. Peru is the world’s third largest exporter of precious metals and is extremely rich with minerals. Without this trade, the Peruvian economy would completely collapse.
    Mining is an extremely important and necessary industry that Peru hopes to continue safely and legally. Peru hopes that the United Nations will be able to find a way to continue the mining industry while making sure that all involved are acting correctly and legally.

  • CBishop
    CBishop November 15, 2017 Reply

    Country: Greece
    Committee: Environmental
    Topic: Protecting international fisheries
    Delegate: Cyrus Bishop
    School: Vicksburg High School

    Fishing is one of the most important industries in Greece, second only to farming, both of which are extremely important to the world at large. Fishing is becoming more and more difficult in Greece due to poor fishing practices and regulations. Greek fisheries have high demand and low budget, meaning everyone wants fish, but fisheries can’t produce enough to make the required amount of money to expand and grow, while too much fishing in the waters of the Mediterranean surround Greece has caused a sharp decline of the populations of fish in high demand, such as sea bass and bream. These losses could potentially ruin the economy of Greece, while also putting these popular fish, and their more selective predators, into near extinction. Overfishing and its source, Greece’s poor economy, are stuck in a cycle that can only lead to Greek waters becoming lifeless and empty, ruining the tourism, and fishing industries which increase Greece’s net worth. Greece proposes increasing restrictions on fishing in areas where the fish populations are suffering, and fining people and companies that dump harmful waste in fishing areas, while also attempting to support domestic fisheries, where the fish can be harvested with a lesser impact on the environment while also keeping Greece from getting even closer to economic collapse. As usual, Greece is looking forward to working with the European Union to make the dream of a Greece a bountiful fishing industry a reality.

  • Janecol
    Janecol November 15, 2017 Reply

    United Nations Environmental Programme

    The Environmental Impact of Mining

    Federative Republic of Brazil

    Colleen Janes (East Grand Rapids High School)

    4:20 in the afternoon. November 5th, 2015. An iron ore tailings dam in Bento Rodrigues, Brazil burst. In the weeks and months that followed, hundreds of thousands of Brazilians suffer from chemically contaminated drinking water. A true health crisis ensues. The cause? Poorly-regulated mining. The effect? Brazil’s worst environmental disaster to date.

    The Federative Republic of Brazil is all too aware of the environmental impacts of mining. It is for this reason that the National Department of Mineral Production conducts over 4,600 inspections a year to regulate Brazilian mining. We also have a Constitutional provision that states, “Those who exploit mineral resources shall be required to restore the degraded environment, in accordance with the technical solutions demanded by the competent public agency, as provided by law” As seen in article 225.

    As a nation that knows first hand the effects of mining on the environment, Brazil calls upon the United Nations Environmental Programme to discuss and develop and comprehensive resolution that is able to serve as a check on the international community when it comes to mitigating the effects of mining on the environment.

  • Amoncman
    Amoncman November 15, 2017 Reply

    United Environmental Protection Programme
    The Environmental Impact of Mining
    Lao People’s Democratic Republic
    Anthony Moncman

    Mining is the removal of minerals from the earth, and there is many different ways to do so, from placer mining to mountaintop removal. One of these types of mining is placer mining which hardly damages the environment, because it does not leave much waste and it is not wasteful although it is much more difficult to practice. Other mining methods, such as open-pit mining harm the environment in many more ways. Many surface mining methods contribute to the deforestation of large forests. Most methods of mining leave “tailings” that is harmful to the environment.
    Lao People’s Democratic Republic have many forests that are being negatively affected by methods of mining that require much land and the mismanagement and lack of responsibility by the mining companies. Much of the peoples’ land and work in the country has been affected by the mining taking place for oil, copper, and other minerals or natural gases. Copper in runoff water has taken a hard toll on such villages and their residents; mining has destroyed their farmland and in a lot of cases the streams or rivers in these small areas. This has led to a falling per capita income for farmers and multiple fishermen.
    Lao People’s Democratic Republic urges the United Nations to support the regulations of all practices of mining. In being successful, the regulation of mining would promote a much more stable environment for all nations heading into future years. This would reduce pollution caused by mining thus reducing pollution caused by many nations.

  • Sukirajan
    Sukirajan November 15, 2017 Reply

    UNEP
    The Environmental Impact of Mining
    Republic of Honduras
    Suki Rajan

    Mining, the process of extracting minerals and materials from the earth, is a key component of the global economy, and it powers several developing countries. Mining provides jobs to many all over, with over 3 million people working in the mining industry worldwide. Despite this, mining also contributes greatly to the destruction of the environment. It remains mostly unregulated, and many dangerous mining techniques are detrimental to the earth. Toxic conditions around mines have led to health issues in mining workers and surrounding residents. The UN must take action to better regulate and decrease the harmful side effects of mining, while also considering the economic importance of this industry.

    Mining is a highly important industry in the Republic of Honduras. While the importance of mining has declined from the status it held in the 19th century, it still remains a large part our our economy. There is much potential for the environment friendly growth of mining in Honduras. We hold an abundance of natural resources; with high levels of gold, zinc, gypsum and silver in our country. However, a lack of regulation and control over mining companies has led to a decrease in mining exports. Our government is working with various groups, both companies and environmental organizations, to increase our exports and move the industry in a more environment friendly path. While we understand that mining contribute greatly to the economy, but we believe that increased regulation will only benefit the industry both economically while keeping it eco friendly.

    We believe that the United Nations should implement stronger laws concerning the mining industry. Regulated mining has great potential in bettering the environment, and prevent the extensive damage the industry has thus far caused. The UN should fight corruptive and dangerous mining practices, and truly review the impact of mining on the world. At the same time, the concerns of mining companies should be heard, as much of the industry relies on these companies to sustain the economy and employment. All nations should come together as one and work toward improving the mining industry to become more environment friendly and economically beneficial; as well as less dangerous and harmful to the environment and its inhabitants.

  • Grace.ackerman
    Grace.ackerman November 15, 2017 Reply

    United Nations Environment Programme
    The Environmental Impact of Mining
    Republic of India
    Grace Ackerman

    Although mining has been practiced for over 40,000 years, it has become increasingly important that the environmental consequences be addressed. The main problems are that the waste exceeds the amount of desired resource obtained and that valuable resources such as water or wood are being exchanged for more profitable ones. These main issues primarily stem from overburden, mine tailings, fracking, underground fires, and dust plumes; when the aforementioned activities occur it leads to catastrophes such as underground collapse, dangerous amounts of carbon monoxide, air pollution, or chemical leaching into water. Entire communities are being displaced due to the negative effects of mining on the land and it habitants, just like in New Idria. Additionally, landscapes are altered and destroyed to reach the minerals underneath, leaving scarred land behind. In 2002 the Intergovernmental Forum (IGF) emerged from the world summit on sustainable development, and this organization focuses on providing opportunities for national governments with an interest in mining to work collectively to advance the priorities identified in the Johannesburg Plan of Implementation and the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and Agenda 2030. The negative effects of mining have not been addressed universally nor enforced equally, so it is crucial that something changes.

    The mining sector in India contributes around 4 percent to the gross domestic product (GDP), and is one of the largest employers with over one million workers; therefore, the potential consequences of mining are extremely prevalent in India. The mining industry of India is plagued with environmental and health problems: due to dust, gases, noise, or water pollution, abandoned mines, the loss of forests and agricultural land, etcetera. In January of 1994, the Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF) identified steps to take the environment into consideration such as preventing pollution at the source, ensuring that the polluter pays for the pollution, and developing and applying the best technical solution. Additionally, some large mining companies in India have taken measures to conserve resources, recycles meals and scraps, adopt environment-friendly technology, use energy efficiently, aforest, and preserve biological diversity.

    Despite the current efforts on reducing the environmental impact of mining in India it is important that further steps be taken. Current Indian policy allows many mining expeditions to occur without actually reviewing their environmental precautions and such, so it should be strengthened to prevent companies from harming the environment even more. It is important that other countries take similar measures if they do not already. On a broader basis, India would support international mining policy that lessens the negative effects of mining on the environment.

  • Aliviajewell
    Aliviajewell November 15, 2017 Reply

    Country: Burkina Faso
    Committee: Environmental
    Topic: The Environmental Impact of Mining
    School: Williamston High School
    Delegate: Alivia Stanley

    There is a large negative impact on the environment by people mining. The amount of waste material exceeds the amount of desirable material. Because of this, communities fall to undesirable methods of mining such as fracking (the injection of liquids at high pressures to force open fissures and extract oil or gas.) This method of mining can create an underground collapse which form sinkholes. Another way of mining that is detrimental to the earth is using diesel generators which increase the amount of fine atmospheric particles causing air pollution. Other than the extraction methods, the actual material that is extracted can be dangerous. Oil spills cause many ecosystems to die and they happen quite often. Many larger nations such as China and the US have implemented regulations. Regulations are not universal and is also not always encouraged even where guidelines have been made.
    Burkina Faso has not been concerned in the past years about the environmental impact of mining. In fact, Burkina Faso is the fourth largest gold producer in Africa behind South Africa, Ghana, and Mali. What Burkina Faso has been focusing on relative to mining is its mining code. Civil society members have driven for a new mining code since 2010. In 2015, Burkina Faso created a new mining code with only three major amendments, the first being taxation to mining license and industrial operations permit holders. Burkina Faso now takes 1% of the yearly income or 1% of the value of the extractions made by those card holders. The second change is that Burkina Faso can now also collect income tax on the people that make up the mining industry. The third and final adjustment is that hydrocarbons will be taxed with the value-added tax since they are becoming more valuable. These amendments will cause more money to be brought to the government and in turn create a more stable economy.
    In the future Burkina Faso’s suggested plan for all countries is to focus more on the environment instead of how much money they are making off of the valuable resources found while mining. Burkina Faso’s plan also includes the slowing of the use of mining near big cities due to risk of sinkholes or unsafe building venues. Burkina Faso believes that once it strips the land of most of its natural resources then it will be a problem since a large portion of the money coming to the government comes from mining products or the miners themselves. This is especially dramatic to Burkina Faso since is the fourth largest producer of gold in Africa. Despite the push to continue to mine, the world should all follow in the footsteps of Burkina Faso and reduce the amount of mining or find a cleaner way to mine since it is very harsh on the environment as is. All countries should want to save the earth and should, in the near future decide to halt or slow its mining business.

  • Marinacox18
    Marinacox18 November 15, 2017 Reply

    Mexico
    UNEP
    The Environmental Impact of Mining
    Marina Cox, Mattawan High School

    Mining, the extraction of mineral resources from the surrounding material, has been practiced for around 40,000 years. Since the early ages of mining, technology and techniques have advanced substantially. With this, however, brings about many impacts on our environment depending on methods used, resources being extracted, size of the operation, and the degree of remoteness. Fracking has recently become a major portion of how oil mining is accomplished today.

    The mining industry took a positive turn in 2016, as many investors sheltered in the safe havens of the precious meta markets. Gold and silver prices rallied in 2016, a trend anticipated to continue upward. We, as Mexico, plan to capitalize on these many opportunities in the mining of precious metals. The industry is actively seeking machines, equipment and technology that can optimize productivity while reducing costs With this, however, the environmental factors must be taken into consideration.

    Mexico believes the universal acceptance and enforcement of regulations will greatly assist in improving the environmental impacts of mining. We must consider all aspects of mining, proposing a resolution which notes the impact of both currently active mines and mining projects and formerly active mines enduring restoration. A solution must be reached to help promote the safe practice of mining, an essential component of human civilization. Mexico looks forward to collaborating with delegates to solve the important issue of mining’s environmental impacts.

  • Maxreyster1
    Maxreyster1 November 16, 2017 Reply

    United Nations Environment Programme
    The Environmental Impact of Mining
    Swaziland
    Williamston High School
    Max Eyster
    It is of utmost importance that the environmental risks and problems associated with mining is dealt with swiftly and effectively. Mining, put in the simplest terms, is the extraction of mineral resources from the surrounding material, and comes in many forms, from open-pit or “strip” mining to deep vertical or horizontal shafts bored into the ground, as well as underwater excavations and offshore drilling. The process of mining has been around for thousands of years, and provides a much-needed means to extracting valuable resources from the earth. Unfortunately, issues arise when the environmental impact of common mining techniques are examined. In almost all methods of mining, the amount of waste material produced greatly exceeds the amount of desired material extracted. If not properly contained and disposed of, this waste can have adverse effects on the environment. In addition, significant supplies of abundant resources, like water and wood, are used to extract very small amount of the desired material during the process. Underground mining techniques such as fracking can lead to seismic anomalies like sinkholes. Coal mines also release dust plumes and harmful chemicals which can contribute to global warming and render regions uninhabitable. Oil spills both terrestrially and at seas also cause immeasurable damage to the environment. It’s also important to note the harm suffered by miners and communities who live near mining sites.

    The mining industry of the Kingdom of Swaziland vests with the Ngwenyama who authorizes mineral rights after due consultation with the Minerals Committee, which he appoints. Fiscal contribution from mining operations to Swaziland’s GDP is 2% and also accounts for 2% of export earnings. Swaziland has experienced a long history of mining, being home to one of the oldest mines in the world Ngwenya Mine. Now, Swaziland’s once rich mining sector is dwindling, but plans are in the making to restore it. The tailings of the Ngwenya iron ore mine are planned to be reworked to extract 2 million metric tons of iron ore concentrate annually. Gold extractions from the northwestern region of the country have been planned, with the Piggs Peak mine getting revived. More sites have been prospected for extraction to sustain an economic development of the mining sector. Swaziland currently abides to the rules and regulations outlined in the Mines and Minerals Act No. 4 of 2011, Diamond Act No. 3 of 2011, Explosives Act, Mines and machinery regulations, and Mines and Quarries Regulations, but is currently reviewing additional regulations. The delegacy of Swaziland is fully committed to the regulation of mines to provide further safety, given that it does not interfere with Swaziland’s current plans for mine development.

    The delegacy of Swaziland suggests a cautious approach to this issue. The United Nations must be careful to not disrupt the development of mining infrastructure in developing countries, nor hurt the economies of nations which depend on mining as an economic base. Bringing this into consideration, Swaziland is completely supportive of regulations which serve to make mining conditions and techniques safer for both working miners and the environment.

  • avatar image
    Karis Clark November 16, 2017 Reply

    United Nations Environment Programme
    Republic of Rwanda
    The Environmental Impact of Mining
    Karis Clark
    Kalamazoo Central
    Mining is an essential part of agricultural development. All over the world for many centuries, mining has been a pivotal part in aquiring natural resources. Currently, Africa is currently having a lot of investment in the mining sector because it is an underdeveloped area where there is still a lot of untapped resources to come about.
    Direct foreign investment is necessary in order to stimulate the economy and create a stronger mining industry. However, it is important, as a state, to not allow the explotation by big companies to corrupt this endeavor.

    The Republic of Rwanda is currently is making its way to the forefront in efforts to a greener and environment-friendly planet, espeically in Africa. After a thirty year genocide followed by rough political hardships, Rwanda’s relatively new leadership has commited itself to making the nation sucessful economically and socially. The country is agriculturally self-sufficent and does all it can to encourage its citizens to go green. In regards to mining, Rwanda, the target for mining exports is $400 million USD by 2017-2018. Rwanda’s plan is to make sure groundwater is not polluted and that water resources are being used effectively. Additionally, their plan is for more certified mine sites, which include safe and secure working conditions.

    In order to maintain the ideal mining situation, an increase in direct foreign investment will effectively help aquire national resources and lead to a stimulated economy. Working with outside sources to ensure a safe working space in this untapped areas will help better the environment and boost the economy.

  • Mayacassetta
    Mayacassetta November 17, 2017 Reply

    Position paper for GLIMIN
    Committee: UNEP
    Issue: The environmental impact of Mining
    Country: Azerbaijan
    Delegate: Maya Cassetta
    The current issued to be addressed by the country of Azerbaijan is the environmental impact of mining. To start, I would like to address the fact that Azerbaijan, is currently in a horrible environmental state. Pollution from heavy industries and agriculture has damaged the environment. Azerbaijan needs to make more of an effort to better off our environment.
    One issue to be addressed is the impact of mining. When mining for much needed minerals in the earth and we use such methods as fracking and shaft mining, we endanger ourselves to the possibility of underground collapse, forming sinkholes and other big anomalies. The dust that comes from huge mining operations severely increase the atmospheres percentage of fine particulates and when mixed with the large diesel generators, we are led to significant air pollution. Another consequence of mining is underground coal fire. These fires have made regions uninhabitable. Mostly due to carbon monoxide in the atmosphere.
    How Azerbaijan can help this issue is by implementing local regulations in an effort to avoid harming the ecosystems and the human populations. If we make even a small effort to fix this issue, it can make a huge impact to help.

  • Mayacassetta
    Mayacassetta November 17, 2017 Reply

    United Nations Environment Programme
    The environmental impact of Mining
    Azerbaijan
    Forest Hills Central High school
    Maya Cassetta
    The current issued to be addressed by the country of Azerbaijan is the environmental impact of mining. To start, I would like to address the fact that Azerbaijan, is currently in a horrible environmental state. Pollution from heavy industries and agriculture has damaged the environment. Azerbaijan needs to make more of an effort to better off our environment.
    One issue to be addressed is the impact of mining. When mining for much needed minerals in the earth and we use such methods as fracking and shaft mining, we endanger ourselves to the possibility of underground collapse, forming sinkholes and other big anomalies. The dust that comes from huge mining operations severely increase the atmospheres percentage of fine particulates and when mixed with the large diesel generators, we are led to significant air pollution. Another consequence of mining is underground coal fire. These fires have made regions uninhabitable. Mostly due to carbon monoxide in the atmosphere.
    How Azerbaijan can help this issue is by implementing local regulations in an effort to avoid harming the ecosystems and the human populations. If we make even a small effort to fix this issue, it can make a huge impact to help.

  • avatar image
    Jameson VanDokkumburg November 17, 2017 Reply

    United Nations Environment Programme
    Topic: The Environmental Impact of Mining
    Country: Italy
    Jameson VanDokkumburg
    East Grand Rapids High School

    Without a doubt, mining is an important industry for the international community and it provides many benefits–especially economically to the countries who partake in the large scale usage of it. In the case of Italy however, it is not the most relevant industry to the country’s local geography. Italy has no major deposits of coal, oil, minerals or other mining acquired natural resources which means that the nation imports most of its natural resources and minerals in order to sustain its large population.
    Despite Italy’s absence of domestic environmental degradation due to mining, some of Italy’s largest environmental problems still lie within the sphere of industrial pollution and insufficient industrial waste treatment/disposal. As such, Italy sympathizes with the nations of the international community whom’s territory has been ravaged by the over harvesting on minerals and complete lack of precautionary measures whilst mining. This sympathetic attitude considered, the fact of the matter is that Italy does rely on policy that continues to support high levels of coal, oil and mineral harvesting due to the country’s reliance on imports. As such, Italy will be unwilling to support any proposed solution that overly limits the amount of minerals being harvested. In order to sustain its own population and economy, the country must continue to have these important resources imported and due to this, would prefer policy that looks to solve more of the residual issues, ones that not only do not endanger the country’s state of trade relations but also may solve some of the issues that Italy is currently personally affected by.
    Italy proposes that the United Nations Environment Programme Council deals with the issue of negative mining impacts first by improving the manner(s) in which waste, excess rock and valueless material are disposed of. Currently many countries utilize tactics–such as merely moving the extracted rock to a different location–that often bring harm to the surrounding ecosystem, ravaging the natural environment. Italy proposes these practices are stopped in favor of a more compact method of disposal. Perhaps grinding rocks that do not contain toxic material into sand for easier storage and transportation?
    Secondly, Italy suggests that thorough cleaning of water supplies used for mining and regulations regarding where mining runoff liquids are allowed to travel should be further investigated and potentially changed. As a peninsular nation, Italy has a deep seated interest in protecting large bodies of water and the marine life that inhabits them. Current toxic runoff and a lack of regard for water purification puts bodies of water and the organisms that call them home at severe risk.
    Though ready and willing to collaborate with other nations on the improvement of environmental conditions related to mining, Italy wants to make it lucidly clear to the Environment Programme that, due to the reliance on imports for mineral acquisition, the country cannot and will not support any proposed policy that limits Italy’s ability to obtain the coal, oil and other minerals necessary to support its population. Italy has and will continue be agreeable and interested in the improvement of the environment across the globe, however in this case, the country is unwilling to put its own personal sustainability at risk should proposed regulations be too encompassing and restrictive.

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