Environmental impacts of mining largely depend on the methods used and the geological context that governs how easily the minerals can be separated from the ore material. Unlike gold mining, which often uses potentially toxic chemicals such as mercury and cyanide, gemstone mining does not depend on chemicals for extraction of the rough material. The main issues surrounding gemstone mining are:
- Land degradation and possible rehabilitation
- Water quality, spills, and floods
- Effects on wildlife and biodiversity
At a manufacturing level the main issues are: the use and disposal of chemicals used in gemstone manufacturing (cutting & polishing, jewelry manufacturing) process.
This project seeks to address these issues by bringing together knowledge on best practices.