A startup is recovering materials from mine tailings and restoring surrounding ecosystems
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Spotted: The negative environmental impacts of mining are well-established. As well as generating substantial volumes of greenhouse gas emissions, the mining process is also responsible for biodiversity loss, water contamination, and air pollution. Mineral extraction is still necessary, however, with these materials playing an essential role in energy transition technologies, as well as in electronics and fine jewellery.
Startup Regeneration, which was founded by US NGO Resolve, is on a mission to make mining a sustainable practice. Instead of sourcing new mineral deposits, the company has a growing network of old mining sites that makes use of waste rock and mine tailings to access essential minerals. Mining techniques in the past were highly inefficient, as well as highly damaging to the environment, meaning that lots of valuable materials have been left behind in legacy mines. Using new methods and technologies, Regeneration is able to re-mine and take full advantage of old mining tailings.
In addition to putting mining waste to good use, Regeneration also restores surrounding ecosystems that have been damaged by past mining practices, clearing polluted water systems and rebuilding habitats. Once fully re-mined, the company closes out a legacy mine properly to ensure that an area will not continue to be polluted. The startup then monitors biodiversity and regeneration progress on its closed sites to make sure the environment is healing as expected.
Brands can partner with the organisation to access sustainably re-mined minerals and metals for their own products, and Regeneration uses its sales profits to go back into habitat restoration and mining closures.
The company has already joined forces with the likes of Apple, and in May this year, popular Canada-based jewellery brand Mejuri also announced its own partnership as part of its first Sustainability Report. Through this relationship, Mejuri will be able to produce its jewellery lines using efficiently and sustainably mined metals, while helping to support essential ecological rehabilitation.
In the archive, Springwise has spotted other innovators looking to make jewellery better for the planet, including one that is 3D printing zero-waste items and another that sources diamonds from the ocean.
Written By: Matilda Cox