Ethical Effects Of Gold Mining

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Gold mining has always been a major income generator in South Africa, but the question this country is faced with now is whether or not gold mining is ethical. Gold mining has had a number of effects on the environment and the lives of those residing around where the mines used to be or still are. Some of these effects are dust pollution, acid mine drainage, carbon footprint increase and the release of radioactive waste material like uranium and un-rehabilitated mine pits/footprints. Even with all these presented issues gold mining produces a lot income and is one of the major contributors in South Africa’s economy. Gold mining has been the back bone of South Africa’s economy and that of its ruined environment. The mining of gold has had an incredible effect on the environment and the health of those residing around the mining areas. Acid mine drainage is metal-rich water formed when rocks containing sulphur-bearing minerals- such as iron sulphide- react with water, the runoff is usually acidic (James A. Jacobs, 2014). The Acid Mine Drainage flows into streams, lakes, dams which is connected to main water sources such as the Vaal Dam and the Crocodile River and ground water also gets polluted (Graeme Williams, 2011). The ADM coming from the gold mines contains heavy metals and high levels of radioactive uranium. And the very same water source ADM flows into is used for irrigation of crops, drinking water, washing and recreational purposes for those around the water sources.

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