The Damage Gold Mining Causes to the Environment is Worse Than You Think

Published On 2022-05-18

Gold is one of the most valued precious metals and a highly sought-after commodity. This natural treasure is alluring due to its store of value and has managed to maintain both cultural and economic significance for thousands of years. It’s so valuable that around 205,238 tonnes of gold have been mined throughout history. In fact, the year 2021 alone accounted for 3,000 metric tons of global gold output. This massive demand for gold as a metal and a commodity is unlikely to change in the near future.

However, most people have no idea of the detrimental impact of its extraction and mining processes. Some may be aware that gold mining is one of the most environmentally damaging industries; however, the devastating social impacts of mining are not often talked about. The process has the potential to displace populations, taint drinking water, harm workers, and damage natural habitats. It pollutes water and soil with mercury, cyanide, and other destructive chemicals, putting people’s health and ecosystems at risk.

In order to reduce gold mining, we are introducing an alternative to traditional gold investments by tokenizing gold preserved in the ground. We created a proprietary, blockchain-based system to preserve unmined resources through digital token issuance, with the goal of unlocking the value of in-ground mineral assets such as gold but without causing the environmental and climate change consequences of mining.

Devastating Effects of Gold Mining

The large-scale process of extracting gold causes devastating impacts on both animal and human populations. Severe water contamination is a major problem whereby water bodies are destroyed when cyanide and other dangerous chemicals are used to leach gold from ores or are created as a byproduct of the mining process.

As a result, communities living near gold mines may be unable to utilize local water resources without expensive treatment and purification. Cyanide, a chemical often used in the gold leaching process, is highly poisonous; a human exposed to it can die from a dosage the size of a single rice grain.

Furthermore, the gold mining business contributes to massive carbon emissions. Global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from gold mining exceed 100 Mt CO2-e per year, with national emissions intensities ranging from 129 to 2,754 kg CO2-e/oz.

Another problem associated with gold mining is acid mine drainage, which occurs when the subsurface rock is exposed to air and water for the first time. This acidic water can be 20 to 300 times more concentrated than acid rain, making it deadly for aquatic life exposed to the acidic runoff. Beyond that, gold mining releases significant amounts of mercury, as well as cadmium, lead, zinc, copper, arsenic, and selenium. These substances further deteriorate the surrounding environment.

Tokenizing Gold to Eliminate Mining Effects

Despite gold mining’s devastating environmental impact, authorities haven’t taken adequate steps to mitigate the problem. While existing technological innovations such as autonomous vehicles, remote operating centers, automated drilling, and tunnel-boring systems have helped in reducing the negative environmental impact of mining, we have yet to see a large-scale change in the mining industry.

The advent of blockchain technology, however, has the potential to create a greater impact. Its remarkable transparency and security are why we have chosen to address the environmental problems associated with gold mining through our first token, $LEGACY.

At Nature’s Vault, we focus on the preservation of Natural Capital, and with $LEGACY, we are doing so by tokenizing gold that we preserve in the ground through avoided mining. Natural Capital refers to the world’s ecosystem resources and the benefits that they provide, and the greater the damage caused to pristine environments such as those targeted for gold mining, the less Natural Capital we have.

What we find to be one of the most compelling aspects of this project is that we quantifiably preserve real gold underground. Users can stake and earn using these tokens, and each token will be linked to a minimum of 0.01 grams of gold preserved in the ground. We intend to acquire additional mineral concessions with the proceeds from $LEGACY tokens, which will also be used to back token issuance.

Creating a Positive Impact on the Environment

Few governments and corporations are tackling the most critical environmental issues, while the vast majority are still ignoring them. With the rate of loss of natural ecosystems increasing by the day, addressing this issue is an urgent necessity if we are to continue occupying what is, at present, an increasingly uninhabitable Earth. More action needs to be taken given our available resources and technological advancements, and we hope to inspire others by making the most of those that we have access to with projects such as $LEGACY and others in the future.

We are different because we are a company dedicated specifically to addressing these issues: our mission is to make the funding of impactful initiatives that combat climate change easier so that we can achieve a net-zero future. Ours is a new approach to effecting positive change to our environment, and investors can leverage our role in reducing the carbon footprint of the gold mining industry to meet their environmental, social, and governance requirements.

It’s impossible to completely reverse the damage caused by gold mining, but through the innovative use of blockchain and modern mining technology, we are confident that we can make a significant difference, thus preserving Natural Capital and leaving a legacy for future generations.

To learn more about Nature’s Vault, visit:

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