As scientific and technological advances increase the understanding of
the physical and chemical processes that cause undesired environmental consequences, metal mines and related beneficiation or smelting
facilities apply this understanding to prevent and resolve environmental
problems. Ongoing mining operations and mine closure activities
employ several different mitigation approaches including
 Reclamation of disturbed lands,
 Treatments and stabilization of metal-bearing soils,
 Prevention and treatment of contaminated water,
 Controls on the amount and character of emissions to the atmosphere,
 Minimizing waste and recycling raw materials and byproducts.
Better, more cost-effective approaches are needed for dealing with the
environmental impacts of mining, beneficiation, and smelting, especially
measures that prevent undesired environmental impacts. Scientific and
technological research, focused on understanding the underlying
processes important to these problems, can provide the foundation for
new, cost-effective solutions. The challenge for future metal production
is to develop environmentally sound mining and processing techniques
that can also contribute to more widespread mitigation of historical
environmental problems.