Strikingly beautiful, jade easily captures the eyes, and hearts, of many. Used in ornaments, medicines, rituals and jewellery worldwide, the demand for jade is ever-present. Used for millennia, there is a rich history and traditions in which jade plays a pivotal role.
Unfortunately, getting jade from its resting place in the ground and into the hands of those that want it creates a wake of destruction and harm. The mining process creates environmental and societal issues and contributes heavily to the degradation of the quality of life for those living in areas where jade is mined.
It has become harder and harder to justify the continued extraction of jade, particularly considering the damage that is caused by jade mining operations around the world. Due to this, there are tough questions that need to be asked. Finding these answers is critical in deciding the best path forward for the environment and the local populations around these mines.
The rich color and translucent quality of jade have made is a staple in Asian art and jewelry for centuries. It is also used, to a much lesser extent, for natural healing practices and certain spiritual rituals. For the most part, jade is a decorative and aesthetic resource, used for adornments and jewelry.
In ancient times, the use of jade never had a detrimental effect on the land or the people because the scale of the mining done at the time was minuscule in comparison to today’s jade mining operations. Modern-day jade mining displaces villages and contaminates the land, all in the pursuit of the gemstone.
If you were to visit a jade mine today, you would be greeted by an open pit, filled with discarded “tailing” (a term for used and discarded rubble left over from mining operations). To get to the jade, excavators dig up giant boulders in which there are heavy jade deposits. From there, the boulders are broken into pieces and the jade retrieved, to be refined into consumer products.
The worldwide demand for jade has consequences. Open pit mining operations, combined with the transport and distribution of the mineral place a heavy unseen price on the beautiful green stone. Who pays this price? In the end, everyone pays the price of a ravaged planet but some are more directly affected than others. What kind of effects does open pit mining for jade collection have on the environment?
Open pit mining devastates a landscape and makes it almost unsalvageable. Particularly because of the way jade is mined, it can destroy the water table in the mining area, making it almost impossible for the land to recover after the mining operation is closed.
Fertile soil is a delicate balance of many different systems. Jade mining destroys the capability of an area to be fruitful by contaminating the soil and water in the surrounding area. Mineral ore, along with the polishing and treatment of the jade, exposes the environment to harmful chemicals that can stay in the area for years, damaging the water and soil for decades.
Boulders with jade don’t expose themselves. This is done with heavy mining equipment, all of which are powered by carbon-based fuels. These machines, in conjunction with the trucks, trains, boats and small vehicles that are part of the jade transportation chain, dump carbon into the atmosphere.
Open pit mines destroy the land upon which they sit. Any living species that once lived upon the land must either relocate or face extinction. This is no easy feat. Some species cannot relocate and perish. Others travel to other areas and disrupt the local ecosystem. The natural balance is devastated by the presence of an open pit mine, no matter how “environmentally conscious” they may claim to be.
Dangerous Conditions and Human Rights Abuses in Mining Villages
Mining villages are often located at the site of the mine. These workers live in these mines and accidents are commonplace. There are issues of people being injured with mining equipment. There are also landslides, a result of improperly piling mining tailings, that have taken the lives of many miners. Conditions there are so bad that many miners suffer from substance abuse problems, as a way to cope with their harsh living conditions. This is all done in the name of bringing products to the jade market.
Civil War is Funded and Fueled by Jade
Civil war rages in Myanmar, where 70% of the world’s supply of jade is mined. Opposing sides of the conflict use jade as a form of income, using the money to fund their operations. Innocent civilians are caught in the crossfire and miners are forced to give over their jade, sometimes at gunpoint. Those who live in Myanmar pay the price to meet the demand of the world, especially Asia’s, thirst for jade.
The issues that are a direct result of jade mining are serious. Environment concerns and human rights abuses plague the jade industry and show no signs of abating, even with attempts to curb this with legislation. If the industry or the government cannot provide solutions to these issues, what can be done to change the tide for the people most affected by this trade?
Some think the problem is irresolvable. Others turn a blind eye. Yet others strive for answers. What could be done to stop the damage from jade mining? Element United has an answer.
Keep the jade in the ground.
Of course, this would stop the issue from arising but is this possible? What incentive could jade miners have to cease mining operations and keep jade in the ground?
Element United is paving the way to make this potential future a reality. Using jade and crypto and jade and blockchain technology to turn the tide of the industry that has such a devastating effect on so many lives.
With a clear vision and the foundation already laid, Element United is making it possible for mine operators to choose a more sustainable and environmentally conscious path while still monetizing the assets that are present in their mines. How do they do this?
Blockchain and node technology allows Element United and the jade mines to create new economies, with new products and services to reflect the value of the assets that are left in the ground. These products will include NFT collections and a browser game to earn Element rewards. They partner with mines to leave their assets in the ground and digitize them, instead of bringing them to the surface.
This is how jade and crypto alongside jade and blockchain technology can begin the process of helping the environment and the people of these areas while providing mining companies with an economic incentive to do so.
The future needs clean and sustainable economies to drive growth. Element United is committed to that future and you can be too. Get started today!