The Benefits of Copper Mining: Environmental, Economic, and Technological Progress

4 min

Copper mining has long been an important industry, not only for the countries that produce it, but also for the industries that rely on it. From renewable energy systems and electric vehicles to communication networks and everyday products, copper plays a vital role in our lives and the economyAccording to StatistaGlobal production of refined secondary copper stood at approximately 4.15 million metric tons as of 2021. 


Copper is mined across the globe, with the largest production coming from Chile – responsible for 27% of copper production globally with two of the biggest mines. 


In this article, we'll take a closer look at the many benefits of copper mining, including its positive impact on the environment, the economy, and technological advancements. From new technologies that make the mining process more environmentally friendly to the increase in mining jobs and economic growth it can create, there is no denying the important role that copper mining plays across the globe. 


Environmental benefits of copper mining 


Copper mining can have positive impacts on the environment in many ways, particularly when new technologies are implemented that have the potential to minimize the environmental impact of the mining process. This is something that is a key focus for businesses operating within the mining industry to support the energy transition and a greener future with sustainable mining processes. 


One way that copper mining companies are working to reduce their environmental footprint is by utilising bacteria to extract copper from ore. This process, known as bioleaching, uses microorganisms to break down the ore and extract the copper, which can reduce the amount of energy and chemicals needed compared to traditional mining methods. Some recent examples of bioleaching operations across the globe include: 


  • Acid Mine Drainage - Rio Tinto, Spain 

  • Heap Leaching – Ivan Zar, Chile 

  • Bioleaching of Gold Concentrates – Harbour Lights, Australia 

  • Dump Leaching – Pinto Valley, USA