Actualizing Sustainable Mining: “Whole Mine, Whole Community Whole Planet” Though Ecology and Community-Based Strategies
Values, opportunities and constraints spring from physical, unutilized byproducts, from critical ecosystems and wildlife populations, from location relative to those ecosystems and proximate communities, and from the political will to perform adequate feasibility investigations. Patience, determination and thoroughness are imperative.
Looking beyond what has occurred to date, the case of Kennecott Utah Copper provides ample illustration of possibilities for community economic development, environmental management, and significant initiatives beneficial at regional and planetary scales, to become recognizable as deserving of the label, ‘sustainable.’ Through what this researcher terms “whole mine, whole region, whole planet” thinking, strategies become visible and subject to serious consideration, presenting a path to best possible accomplishment in mining. Constituting a maximal broadening of mining’s “traditional” scope, the integrative approach proposed here is the ‘paradigm shift’ being made by many other industries around the world. In aggregate, these steps are the only hope for avoidance of environmental, social and economic risks that threaten to curtail resource development and impair mining companies’ ‘social license to operate.’