There is no set term for sustainable mining,
rather it consists of different elements which together form the pillars of
sustainable mining. These elements are economic growth, the protection of
natural resources of the environment and social responsibility. With regards to
economic growth, this consists of achieving sustainability through planning the
volume of production in mining to ensure maximum efficiency in order to
economise of resource usage. Protection of natural resources and of the
environment, concerns the protection of resources by ensuring depletion of the
resource does not increase/exacerbate;
as well as ensuring that impacts from extraction processes are minimised. Social
responsibility comprises the welfare of the working conditions of miners as
well as the conditions of the mining environment (Science Direct, 2013).
The Minerals Planning Authority within Cornwall
County Council developed the St Austell China Clay Tipping and Restoration Strategy
as a way to plan for sustainable mining for the China Clay industry of
mid-Cornwall. This strategy was created to last for the period of up to 2050 and beyond that (Cornwall Council, 2017).
The strategy is aimed to deal with
the issues of mass waste produced from China Clay and the manner in which this
waste is disposed of. This is to minimise the environmental impacts of mineral
mining as well as to ensure the safeguard of resources. The objectives of the
St Austell China Clay Tipping and Restoration Strategy are in place to allocate
a long term structure/framework
for the China Clay Industry. Figure 6 is an extract taken from the St Austell
China Clay Tipping and Restoration Strategy, which highlights the main aims for
this strategy. The key areas that are covered in these objectives are
the operational side of the China Clay mining industry, the landscape and after
use of the china clay environment, the resources and the quality of life in
relation to China clay mining.
Cornwall Council used a Geographical Information System to investigate
the various tipping scenarios of the china clay waste on land with lesser
environmental and operational constraints.