The Concealed Cost of Gold Mining

In January of 2019, the tailing dam of Vale's Corrego do Feijao mine collapsed, causing the death of over 270 people. The surrounding land and water remain contaminated to this day, as the eco system pays a hefty toll for the thoughtless actions of the Brazilian miner. Mine tailings are the remnants of the gold extraction process. These tailings contain enormous amounts of toxic chemicals such as heavy metals, sulphides, cyanide and radioactive materials. When released into the environment, their damage is wide reaching and long lasting. Vale SA has received a penalty from Brazil’s comptroller general. He stated the shortcomings of the miner in providing attested knowledge on the state of the Brumadinho tailings dam, prior to the incident occurring.

The company has been issued a hefty fine of 86.3 million reais (US$16.8 million), albeit, no amount of money can truly compensate for what has been lost. The fine is only representative of a mere portion of the 27 billion reais that Vale has already spent towards the reimbursement and mitigation of upstream tailing dams. The mine has also begun drafting an appeal, as a retaliation for the sizeable value of the fine. Mining companies hold significant power due to the profitability of the industry. Often, mines have taken advantage of weaker local governments and political unrest in strategic attempts to gain indemnity for public interest regulations and actions. Fines after calamities is not enough, an alternative must be implemented to ensure true change in the industry.

Clean Mining, a part of Clean Earth Technologies, has the answer to wipe out harmful tailings through a non-toxic, non-flammable and water-soluble gold recovery reagent.

Compared to traditional methods of gold extraction, Clean Mining’s safe and environmentally-responsible solution changes the playing field altogether. By replacing cyanide in traditional gold mining, the health of the people and the environment can be protected. This eco-friendly solution produces dry waste, thus eradicating the need for risky tailing dams entirely. Their sustainable solution is the key to the future of green mining.

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