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Negative Global Impacts of Traditional Gold and Diamond Mining

Blog

I’m Niki, the founder and designer of Enji Studio Jewelry. We’re a sustainable luxury jewelry brand based in beautiful north county San Diego.

at Enji we’re on a mission to bring you meaningful, modern, ethical design that shows off your style, honors the journey of your life, and reflects your values. We craft each piece for you in our Carlsbad studio bringing new life to recycled gold and silver and using only FairTrade and ethically sourced diamonds and gemstones.

Enji was founded in 2014. We take steps toward positive change in our industry by practicing ethical sourcing and manufacturing and giving back to the local and global community. We create our pieces for everyday wear.

Enji is about modern, minimal design that is made ethically and sustainably and gives back to the community. As creators and consumers, our choices now have a global impact. This is why we consider how things are made to be important and this to be part of our responsibility as a business and global citizen. As a designer and jeweler, I only work with suppliers that share this view. This is why we make all of my pieces using only recycled gold and silver, ethically sourced and fairtrade stones, chains and findings that are made in the USA and Italy, and packaging and marketing materials made using recycled paper and clothing.

Niki is a GIA Graduate Jeweler. She was awarded the 2016 Halstead Grant Award and 2014 Windgate Fellowship Award by the Center for Craft, Creativity, and Design. She has exhibited in galleries throughout the United States and Europe and her work can be seen in the pages of Glamour UK, Basic, Evening Standard, National Jeweler, and more. To see her one of a kind art pieces and CV check out nikigrandics.com

Enji is about modern, minimal design that is made ethically and sustainably and gives back to the community. As a designer and jeweler, I only work with suppliers that share this view. We make all of my pieces using only recycled gold and silver, ethically sourced and fair mined stones, chains and findings that are made in the USA and Italy, and packaging and marketing materials made using recycled paper.

As a member of Ethical Metalsmiths, we hope to be among the first movers bringing transparency and sustainable practices into the luxury fashion jewelry world. Ethical Metalsmiths and Fairmined gold and gems.  All our pieces are made in our studio in San Diego and we use low-impact, environmentally conscious studio practices to lessen our footprint. 

We take steps toward positive change in our industry by practicing ethical sourcing and manufacturing, because it’s important. To us, to you, to the women and men who mined the stones we use to create our pieces. We also donate a portion of each sale to organizations that help empower women locally and globally and work to end domestic violence and human trafficking because that’s part of the future we want to see.

Ethical sustainable jewelry fairtrade fair trade fair-trade jewelry recycled gold recycled sterling silver San Diego Carlsbad ethical gemstones ethically sourced sustainable

Negative Global Impacts of Traditional Gold and Diamond Mining

Niki Grandics

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It is obvious that the mining industry for both diamond and gold is filled with controversial issues. One of the most prevalent issue is the negative environmental impacts that the mining industry has on our earth. Issues, such as sustainability and global warming, have been fought against and denied since the industrial revolution. This way of cost-benefit business thinking has only contributed to further disintegration of our ecosystems and it is time that we address our consequences.

You might not think you are directly correlated to the unethical practices of mining, but as a consumer you are a much stronger driving force that you take credit for. Every purchase you make and decision you take drives the demand on certain industries. Mining in both gold and diamond industries vary but often share the same environmental impacts.

 

Toxic waste

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Typical mining of gold is more toxic than diamond mining, which contains as many as three DOZEN dangerous chemicals including; arsenic, lead, mercury, petroleum byproducts, acids, and cyanide. These chemicals are usually not disposed of properly and can affect the surrounding water, earth, and animals.

There has been evidence that various water sources near mining sites are often polluted and contribute to the death of wildlife. Companies mining for gold and other metals in total dump at least 180 million tons of toxic waste into rivers, lakes, and oceans each year—more than 1.5 times the waste that U.S. cities send to landfills on a yearly basis. These toxins can be found in fish, frogs, birds and eventually follow the food chain to people in the surrounding areas.

If you think that pollution only happens in isolated areas, you would be wrong. The Lihir gold mine in Papua New Guinea dumps over 5 million tons of toxic waste into the Pacific Ocean each year, destroying corals and other ocean life.

As a Californian, I take this to heart. San Diego literally has the Pacific Ocean at its doorstep. Basic geology tells us that all bodies of water return to ground zero, also known as the ocean. We can infer that all contaminated water will one day find itself at our city. The ocean we surf, swim in, and enjoy with our children is slowly being filled with contaminates.

 

Land modification

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One of the major impacts that mining has on the area is modification of the land. Mines are essentially deep holes in the ground, so much of the earth gets displaced from excavation.

Mining activities may lead to large-scale erosion, which is dangerous for local population and can reduce the biodiversity of an area. In addition, the damage caused by mines on the surface due to the consequent erosion and sedimentation of the river and streambeds is made more serious due to heaps of rock residues lacking economic value, that usually form great mounds, sometimes larger than the area given over to excavation

These dirt heaps consisting of loose dirt cannot support any vegetation and often cause mud slides to occur and prevent other plants from growing. The loose dirt also is susceptible to “sediment” slides due to environmental exposure such as rain and wind.

Not only is the earth displaced but also modified at the surface for accessibility. Kono, in the heart of the diamond mining region in Sierra Leone has experienced complete loss of rich agricultural soil and farming fields to mining debris.

 

Wildlife

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The impacts of mining also affect the wildlife in the surrounding area. Like we discussed above the loss of resources and habitats displaces many of the animals in the region.

Explosives and loud drilling also scares and affects animals during the day. These large mining areas force animals to relocate to foreign habitats creating a ripple effect throughout the land. Deforestation is also another factor of habitat loss.

Deforestation has several effects. Birds, animals, and creatures that depend on trees and plants for food or shelter lose their homes or starve to death. Any remaining survivors are forced to relocate and find a new dwelling.

Following the food chain will show us that loss of vegetation leads to herbivores to either starve or relocate, which will lead to predators to starve and follow herbivores to relocation.

 

Mining has many consequences for the ecosystem and the earth. We only covered a small portion of the negative impacts of traditional mining. Enji takes great pride in being an ethical and sustainable business. We always believe there is a choice in our consumption needs and do our best to inform our audience of responsible purchasing options. Enji is happy to answer any questions you might have about any of our products.

 

Sources:

http://hayleymatthews-diamondmining-southafrica.weebly.com/environmental-impacts.html

https://www.brilliantearth.com/gold-mining-environment/

http://www.pegasusfoundation.org/effects-of-mining-environment-wildlife/

http://web1.cnre.vt.edu/lsg/3104/group1website/Environmental.html