Mining for sustainability: examining the relationships among Environmental Assessments, mining legacy issues, and learning

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Boerchers, Morrissa
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Mining has left many long-lasting effects, often negative. Mining continues to this day and questions persist; “what are the legacies of mining, to what extent do our approval and assessment processes consider these effects, are we learning from our past experiences and how can we amplify our learning?” To answer these questions I interviewed people from the mining community of Snow Lake, Manitoba as well as mining and assessment experts from across Canada. Data collected though document analysis and semi-structured interviews with 24 participants were analyzed using mining legacy, EA, and transformative learning frameworks. Results reinforce a suite of negative legacy effects identified in the literature. EA may be the best tool we currently have for long-term planning but data show it is unable to fully consider legacy effects. Learning is important for moving towards sustainability; however, a community’s economic dependence and mining friendly culture can act as barriers to learning.
Environmental Assessment, Mining, Legacy Effects, Transformative Learning