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Topic – Pros and Cons of Mining

Read the Following Selection

Read the following selection, or click on the play button below to listen aloud.

Identifying Minerals

Mining for minerals

Mining for Minerals

Rocks that contain minerals are called ore. Mining is the process of digging to find ore. If the ore is close to the surface, miners can create an open-pit mine. First they scrape away the soil on the surface to get to the ore underneath. Then they use explosives such as dynamite, or special power tools, to break the ore into chunks. The ore is sent to a place called a refinery, where people separate the useful minerals from the rock.

If the ore is far below the surface, miners create an underground mine by digging tunnels. Miners travel down an elevator and work in different tunnels to break up the ore in the tunnel walls. Then the ore is brought up to the surface and sent to a refinery.

We need mines because we need to have minerals. We use minerals to make things such as toothpaste, medicine, and airplanes. But mines also create problems. Read about some of the pros (advantages) and cons (disadvantages) of mining.

The Pros of Mining

Here are some of the advantages of mining for minerals:

  Useful Products: Minerals are in many of the products we use every day, including cars, computers, cell phones, and televisions. Can you imagine what it would be like to live without these conveniences?

  Jobs: Mining provides jobs. People who work in refineries would also lose their jobs if mining stopped. Many of Canada’s mines are in places where there are few other jobs.

  Exports: Canadian mines produce more minerals than we need in Canada. Mining companies can sell the extra minerals to other countries. This brings money into Canada. It helps provide jobs in Canada.

  New Technology: New devices and ideas make mining safer. They make mining more efficient, too. Other workplaces might also use these devices and ideas.

Mining hat

The Cons of Mining

Here are some of the disadvantages of mining for minerals:

  Danger to Miners: Working in mines can be dangerous. Miners can be trapped underground if a tunnel collapses. Miners breathe dangerous gases and rock dust in the mine that can make them very sick.

  Harming the Environment: Mining can put dangerous pollution into the environment. Mines can destroy habitats that animals rely on to survive. Some mining companies try to repair the habitat. Damage to animal populations might be permanent.

  Abandoned Mines: When all the minerals have been dug out of a mine, the mine may be abandoned. Abandoned mines are dangerous places for curious people to explore.

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