Showing posts from April, 2023

What’s the impact of your smartphone? Mapping the distribution and environmental impact of mines around the world

How many different materials go into making your smartphone? According to the American Chemical Society, at least 64 different types of chemicals constitute your smartphone . Many of these materials, particularly the heavy earth metals, are extracted from the Earth through mining operations. Mining has been a part of human society for several thousand years now - from the shallow mines of earlier centuries to the more extractive ones created in the last hundred years. The challenge of mining and other extractive industries is that they are essential to many of our needs today - coal for energy, silicon for solar panels and heavy earths for electronics being among the well known ones. At the same time, they cause significant damage to local environments through the disturbance to the land caused by establishing the mine itself, to environmental impacts on water, land and ecosystems from mining operations.   So far, it’s been difficult to map the spatial extent and environmental impact o