Investments & The Environment: Gold Mining

Gold Mining

With environmental policies and efforts becoming increasingly popular in many parts of the world, it se
ems that more people are slowly beginning to realize the necessity of protecting the Earth. However, not everybody knows how to do it. Most are familiar with some basic eco-friendly concepts – recycling, cutting back on fuel emissions, etc. – however, many do not realize just how much they can do to contribute to environmental efforts. For example, did you know that your choice of investments can directly impact environmental issues?

For example, take gold investment, which tends to be a particularly popular alternative investment option during difficult economic times such as those we currently live in. There are many different ways in which one might invest in gold – from purchasing gold ETFs, to buying Gold at BullionVault, to purchasing stock in a gold mining company. However, before getting involved in these types of investments, you may be interested in the well-documented negative environmental impact of gold mining.

Here are the three main ways in which a gold mining operation can harm the environment:

  • Energy Output – Mining gold is not as simple as it once was. In fact, most gold mining operations involve an incredibly high energy output, as huge areas are torn apart, and rocks are deconstructed in a search for tiny bits of gold. According to a Washington Post article on the subject, an entire mine is considered to be “rich” if it yields a few tenths of an ounce of gold – which gives an idea of the waste and excess energy involved in mining.
  • Toxic Drainage – Mining gold on a large scale can also yield a number of other materials and elements that can be harmful to the surrounding ecosystem, should they drain into a nearby river for example. These materials include arsenic and copper, which can be devastating to animal and plant life in the areas surrounding a gold mine.
  • Harmful Material – Finally, mining gold often turns up other materials even as the gold is withdrawn from the rock. The main example here is mercury, which often turns up with gold, and which is highly toxic. Given that there are several significant health problems that can result from contact with mercury, this can be a major issue on its own.

These are some of the factors to keep in mind if you want to make an environmentally responsible effort while investing. While there are some potential economic benefits to investing in gold simply by purchasing quantities of the metal itself, investing directly in a gold mining company directly backs the harmful efforts listed above. Generally, it is a good idea to look into this sort of background information when making any investment.

This is guest post on behalf of BullionVault, written by freelancer Mark Simmons.

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