For many people, a golden wedding band or some other piece of gold jewellery is almost too valuable to put a price on. But while the ring as a symbol may indeed be priceless, the gold certainly is not. Gold comes with a price—a heavy one. Traditional gold mining practices cost the planet and its people far more than the metal itself is worth.
Cyanide has long been the go-to chemical for gold extraction in the industry, however, there have been growing concerns about its use due to its negative health and environmental impacts. Several countries and jurisdictions have already banned the use of cyanide for gold extraction, and it is inevitable that more will follow.
Gold mining can uproot communities, pollute drinking water, cause harm to workers, and wipe out pristine environments. The mercury and cyanide used contaminate water and land, threatening the health of people and ecosystems. The process of gold mining also produces much waste.
Gold mine tailings dams make mining a perilous endeavour. As a result of processing operations, these tailings dams contain hazardous materials such as cyanide, mercury and arsenic. When tailing dams fail, disastrous impacts befall humans and the natural environment.