Commentary: Of Cellphones and Mining…

I have never been fond of cellphones, never was, never will be. That’s why I still use my old 9 yo blackberry (with missing keypads already) much to the disgust of my friends Because I know cellphones are non-recyclable and it contains many minerals as it drains many of the earth’s resources continuously …

A single cellphone is made up of the following:

62 different types of metals – 17 rare Earth metals, 16 are included in phones
Neodymium, terbium and dysprosium (rare earth metals)
A.they give your phone the power to vibrate
B. produce the colours of a phone display.

40% made of metals (predominantly copper, gold, platinum, silver and tungsten)
Metals – aluminum alloys, Lithium cobalt oxide and carbon graphite ( used to make the batteries)
Gold, copper and silver (used in the wiring of the phone.)
Platinum and tungsten (used in the circuitry.)

If you love cellphones, technology and a whole lot more gadgets, then there is no end to mining these minerals.
Mining is inevitable in our existence right now because industrialization and the modernization of the world depends heavily on metals and minerals (gold, copper, silver etc.) Even life depends on these minerals (what is a heart stent made of? It’s gold.)
Copper (together with gold and silver, the 3 most used metals) are used for smartphones, desktop computers, industrial machinery, green energy initiatives and others.

Here in the Philippines, there are 3 copper mining firms operating now (during the 1970’s 18 copper mining firms were operational). They aren’t discovered as fast they are needed in the world. This is the same as with the “rare metals.” They aren’t plentiful and mining or extracting them is time-consuming and they can’t be replaced anymore.

According to the Minerals Education Coalition, a baby born will use up to 539 lbs of zinc, 903 lbs of lead and 985 lbs of copper during his or her lifetime, not just in phones but in other gadgets and appliances too. Multiply these by billions of people living on earth … now you know how much we are fast draining mother Earth.

I was once against mining, but after realizing that we cannot live without a roof above our head made of steel, my work depends on laptop and emailing my work using fast internet connection, I use a car to fetch my kids, my cousins are alive become of heart stents in their hearts, mining metals and minerals are integral part of our life now. We can mine … but provided it is done thru RESPONSIBLE MINING wherein absolute care is given to the environment’s rehabilitation and protection.

RESPONSIBLE MINING also involves only 20-25 years of mining and its rehabilitation is done for another 10-15 years. RESPONSIBLE MINING requires ISO and best environmental management programs. Only capable and able mining companies have the heart to marry mining and the least disturbance to be done in the environment. Doing these, we have the environment’s and our future’s welfare in mind.

If we can make all that exists in our world out of ORGANIC MATERIALS (ex: mushroom spores are replacing styrofoam, leaves are replacing plastic plates), bamboo are replacing bike frame) then yes we can end MINING. But in the meantime, we have to work and deal with the best mining practices … one that puts responsibility in all its action.