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Copper mining and what affect it can have on the environment

With the fear of Global Warming constantly looming over our heads, many people across the nation are making conscious efforts to save the environment one carbon footprint at a time. For mining companies though, their efforts may have to be significantly more substantial if they want to negate their Big Foot sized imprint on the environment.

The reason we bring this up this week in our blog is because of a debate currently going on with our neighbors in Minnesota. The fight over the future of copper-nickel mining in the state versus the long-term effects that it can have on the environment has been a source of contentions for decades with both sides passionately trying to argue their point.

It's something to think about though for property owners, especially when it comes to zoning permits. When it comes to land use, companies can often times leave themselves open to serious legal issues if the business operation could potentially harm the environment or the residents around the property. In the case with the copper-nickel mines, the use of chemicals to extract the metals from the earth could leach harmful contaminants like arsenic or radioactive materials such as uranium and radium into nearby drinking water, a concern a majority of people want to avoid.

This isn't the first time this has been an issue though. In fact, recently in September, a similar situation occurred in Arizona which led two real estate developers to ask a county judge to halt a permit that would allow a copper-mining project near one of the state's aquifers. The runoff from the operation could get into the ground water, polluting drinking water, creating a legal headache for the mining company.

Though many environmental groups are still hesitant about allowing the copper-nickel mining to continue in Northeastern Minnesota, many of the mining companies have already attempted to solve many of the environmental issues already occurring at many mining sites with public safety risks, as well as coming up with solutions for the future.

Sources:

Northland News Center, "First Potential Non-Ferrous Mine Moves Closer to Fruition, What's at Stake?" Nov. 20, 2012

Courthouse News, "Developers and Water Utility Fight Copper Mine," Jamie Ross, Sept. 25, 2012

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