How to Make Metal Mining More Sustainable

In Dust Control, Environment, Mine & Quarry by Jim Silva

New regulatory measures enacted in British Columbia aim to change the nation’s metal mining practices in hopes of maintaining the industry’s profitability without encroaching on the rights of citizens or the health of the natural environment.

Since 2004, private investors in British Columbia have been taking concrete steps towards making metal mining a more sustainable practice. This has stemmed from the introduction of the guiding principles within the “Towards Sustainable Mining” initiative.

According to the British Columbia government web page on mining,

Towards Sustainable Mining (TSM) is a set of guiding principles and performance elements that govern key activities of companies in all sectors of the mining and mineral-processing industry. TSM helps the industry sustain its position as a leading economic contributor in Canada while protecting the environment and remaining responsive to Canadians.

TSM has aided the mining industry in Canada to make clear steps towards sustainability, particularly when it comes to issues of accountability, transparency, and credibility. It also helps mining companies maintain and meet the guidelines of Canada’s specific standards and goals for mining.

As the President and CEO of the Mining Association of Canada Pierre Gratton reports, “Throughout the years, TSM has been recognized by reputable organizations for raising the bar in corporate responsibility for the Canadian mining industry.”

This sort of recognition speaks to the need for an agreement between industry and governments, as such a partnership can produce sustainable and useful guiding principles to meet the demands of industry and society.

Established in 2004, TSM’s main objective is to “enable mining companies to meet society’s needs for minerals, metals and energy products in the most socially, economically, and environmentally responsible way.” These objectives are increasingly important to the private firms that are investing significant capital in Canada’s metal mining industries.

New Projects, New Opportunities Through Sustainability

Despite a recent downturn in metal prices, partially due to the strength of the American dollar, the prospects of Canadian metal mining are not all negative. There are still a number of large projects attracting attention from private investors.

In fact, according to the Vancouver Sun, “Private capital is looking to strike partnerships with B.C. companies that have local expertise…but potential deals aren’t developing as quickly as industry insiders might hope because potential financiers also have to analyze projects through the lens of forecasts for weak metal prices.”

While these projects are taking some time to develop due to forecasts of weak metal prices, there are still investment opportunities available, and many companies are interested in the sustainable projects that have emerged because of the TSM initiative in British Columbia: “Just like companies operating existing mines…investors look at how to make development projects more sustainable, such as through using renewable energy over diesel generators, or trying to find efficiencies in supply chains.”

While companies are being careful with their investments, sustainable projects are attracting money partially because they are environmentally and financially efficient, in turn becoming more worthwhile investments for companies.

Sustainable Solutions

Using the services of a company like Midwest Industrial Supply, Inc. can increase the sustainability of your mining projects and help you meet the TSM industry guidelines. Midwest tailors its services to meet your precise needs before you undertake a job, during the application process, and during follow-up maintenance. Testing, environmental compliance assistance, recordkeeping services are also available.

Regardless of weather, season, time of day, or difficulty, you can count on successful service when the need is related to dust control, erosion control, soil stabilization, or anti-icing and de-icing.

This hands-on, competitive service can help make any mining project meet the demands of the sustainability-focused future. Now is the time to acquire the needed industrial services to make your mining project sustainable and allow it to attract attention from private investors.

(Image credit: Neil and Kathy Carey/flickr)

Jim is Midwest’s Business Unit Manager for Global Mining. He is experienced in operations management, asset management, and business improvement.