The challenges of sustainability in mining regions: The coal mining region of Santa Catarina, Brazil
Throughout history, mining communities have invariably found themselves striving for a good quality of life and a long-term future. In the 21st century, problems of maintaining the economic vitality of mining regions are now compounded by concerns about the biophysical integrity of the local environment. In regions of the world where the economic viability of the resource is marginal and achieving a reasonable quality of life is a daily struggle, sustainable mining may seem to be a dubious prospect at best. Yet the twin imperatives of global political forces and burgeoning environmental concerns are requiring industry, governments and other interests to re-conceptualize the way in which mining takes place in communities. Although mining itself may not be seen as an industry that contributes to the achievement of environmental objectives, it could — with careful planning — be used as a tool to foster a more sustainable and healthier community. This argument is considered in the context of the coal mining region of Santa Catarina, Brazil.