Renewables offer mining a groundbreaking opportunity

August 10, 2017 by  
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With the potential to cut a gigaton of carbon, it’s time to take a hard look at sustainable mining.

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Renewables offer mining a groundbreaking opportunity

3 digital strategies to make your sustainability story pop

August 10, 2017 by  
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Americans increasingly want to hear your company’s sustainability story, a key way to differentiate your brand. Now, make that story stand out.

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3 digital strategies to make your sustainability story pop

5 key areas to jumpstart climate-smart investment

August 10, 2017 by  
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Energy storage is just one hot spot of innovation that IFC recommends watching.

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5 key areas to jumpstart climate-smart investment

Episode 86: Mining’s $16 billion problem; resilient cities rise

July 28, 2017 by  
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In this week’s episode, why mayors are appointing chief resilience officers, cap-and-trade makes a comeback and biomimicry turns 20.

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Episode 86: Mining’s $16 billion problem; resilient cities rise

Doing the math on mining’s $16 billion climate problem

July 21, 2017 by  
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A new CDP report analyzing 12 major mining companies details both pitfalls and potential low-carbon openings for the industry.

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Doing the math on mining’s $16 billion climate problem

Facts and feelings matter when communicating climate science

July 21, 2017 by  
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It’s more important than ever that our approach to communicating about sustainability and climate change is evidence-based and built on a strong, theoretical foundation.

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Facts and feelings matter when communicating climate science

Water-purifying tower could heal landscapes scarred by acid mine drainage in South Africa

July 3, 2017 by  
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Johannesburg , South Africa was built on mining . The gold mining industry began there in the late 1800s , and the city still feels the impact of acid mine drainage, which pollutes the local water supply and scars the environment . Architecture For a Change has a solution: a dam and water purification plant that could help heal the landscape – and in the future, it could even provide housing . Acid mine drainage can pollute drinking water and soil. Johannesburg – near where some of the world’s biggest gold reefs are located – is suffering from the issue. Architecture For a Change says chronic exposure to acid mine drainage can cause cancer, skin lesions, and cognitive impairment. But they’ve found a potential solution through design . Related: Modern recycled container house in South Africa operates 100% off grid They envision a network of purification stations to heal the landscape. A skyscraper would house laboratories and the purification plant, which could draw on Trailblazer KNEW Ion Exchange technology to treat contaminated water. The treatment process would not only yield clean water, but minerals and substances like dolomite, gypsum, and salt that could be used in fertilizers or building. Re-mining Johannesburg doesn’t just clean up water, but could be integrated into the city’s urban fabric. Architecture For a Change envisions three phases for the project. First, water will be pumped from a mining void and purified, creating a large body of water that could become a waterfront held in by a dam. Second, as the land recovers water levels will go down, and the walls of the dam can be turned into housing. In phase three, in the far future, when the landscape is restored, the empty dam will be turned into a park fertilized with the byproducts of the treatment process, and surrounded by housing in the dam walls. The purification plant could be turned into a solar power station to provide energy for the homes. The main building could also have room for a hotel, restaurants, offices, or retail spaces in the future. The skyscraper design is inspired by mining headgear to connect the new buildings to the city’s past. Re-Mining Johannesburg also incorporates sustainable design : the building’s geometry means there is no roof or southern facade, minimizing heat loss. Heat from the purification process could be reused to warm the building in the winter. + Architecture For a Change Images courtesy of Architecture For a Change

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Water-purifying tower could heal landscapes scarred by acid mine drainage in South Africa

Global population buys one million plastic bottles every single minute

July 3, 2017 by  
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We’re drowning in plastic bottles . You already know plastic water bottle use – and their disposal or lack thereof – is a worldwide dilemma, but new statistics released by The Guardian reveal just how staggering the issue has become. Every minute humans purchase one million plastic bottles, consuming nearly 500 billion a year. And while it’s true many of these bottles can be recycled , it’s becoming harder for us to keep up with the sheer volume of trash that needs recycling, and a great deal of it lands up polluting our oceans . In 2016 humans bought over 480 billion plastic water bottles. But that’s only the beginning of the bad news. Less than half of those 480 billion bottles were collected for recycling. And a mere seven percent of those found a second life as new bottles. What happened to the rest? You guessed it: they’re littering our oceans and landfills . And estimates from Euromonitor International indicate their use will only increase, to 583.5 billion by 2021. Related: Plastic waste pop-up pavilion rethinks recycling in the Netherlands Surfers Against Sewage chief executive Hugo Tagholm told The Guardian, “The plastic pollution crisis rivals the threat of climate change …Current science shows that plastics cannot be usefully assimilated into the food chain . Where they are ingested they carry toxins that work their way on to our dinner plates.” Plastic is already showing up in our food, according to recent studies. Scientists at Belgium’s Ghent University found people who eat seafood unwittingly consume 11,000 tiny plastic pieces yearly. Researchers at Plymouth University in England discovered plastic in one third of fish caught in the United Kingdom. According to The Guardian, plastic was first popularized in the 1940’s – but much of the material manufactured then is still around today because plastic takes hundreds of years at best to break down. These bottles could be comprised of 100 percent recycled plastic , but many brands haven’t made the switch because they prefer the shiny look of traditional plastic. And many companies have fought against a tax on single-use bottles. But a similar tax on plastic bags has been quite successful: England’s five pound plastic bag tax has resulted in usage of the polluting bags plummeting by 85 percent . Via The Guardian Images via Wikimedia Commons and Emilian Robert Vicol on Flickr

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Global population buys one million plastic bottles every single minute

Mining the consequences of the rare earths industry

February 25, 2017 by  
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The little-known metals powering our electric cars, smartphones and nuclear weapons underlie a power battle between the nations and corporations that extract them.

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Mining the consequences of the rare earths industry

New 3D-printed magnets work better than traditional versions, with zero waste

November 3, 2016 by  
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There is virtually no limit to the items that can be produced with 3D-printing technology these days, and now researchers at the US Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) have used it to create a better magnet that happens to help protect the environment. The new 3D-printed magnet outperforms traditional magnets as well, making it even more desirable. Because the 3D-printing process involves zero waste, manufacturing the magnets helps conserve rare earth minerals, meaning more of them can stay in the ground. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-GJ2R9V93Eo The game-changing innovation created at ORNL  is an isotropic, near-net-shape, neodymium-iron-boron (NdFeB) permanent bonded magnet . Researchers working on the project report that the 3D-printed magnet has “comparable or better magnetic, mechanical, and microstructural properties” versus magnets with a similar composition that were created through conventional methods. The performance boost is just one of the benefits of this new technology, though. Related: How magnets could bring us closer to energy-free refrigeration The other perk involves conserving rare minerals, which are mined from the earth only to be wasted in traditional manufacturing processes. In order to produce the magnets, composite pellets are melted, compounded, and extruded layer-by-layer into desired forms using the Big Area Additive Manufacturing (BAAM) machine, a special 3D-printer housed at the DOE’s Manufacturing Demonstration Facility at ORNL. Using 3D-printing to manufacture the magnets is a zero waste process, while conventional sintered magnet manufacturing can result in material waste up to 50 percent. The results of the innovation were recently published in the journal Scientific Reports. Via Phys.org Images via ORNL

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New 3D-printed magnets work better than traditional versions, with zero waste

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