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Is It Ethical to Invest in Mining?
Investing

Is It Ethical to Invest in Mining? 

What you do with your money matters. Of course, it matters to your life personally. But the ricochet effect is so much bigger than that. How you spend and invest your money truly does impact the world. That’s why ethical investing is so important. By choosing to invest in the things that align with your values, you live a richer life. So, what about mining? Is it ethical to invest in mining?

What Is Ethical Investing and Why Does It Matter?

Ethical investing basically just means that you choose to invest in the things that matter to you. If you are concerned that fast fashion leads to environmental destruction and slave labor, for example, then you don’t invest in companies that create throwaway clothes.

Ethical investing varies from person to person in two key ways:

  • What your ethics are
  • How much research you do into your investments

Investing in mining might pose no ethical problems for one person. On the other hand, someone concerned about the environmental damage sometimes done by mining might find investing in the issue very problematic. That’s part one: what types of things align with or are against your ethics?

Part two is how much research you give to make sure that you engage in ethical investing. Some people do very little. If they see that something is completely against their ethics, then they don’t invest. For example, a vegan wouldn’t likely invest in factory farming. But they might do deep research into every aspect of a company to make sure that no part of what they do impacts animals in any way. Then there are the people who do exactly that kind of deep research. Ethical investing exists on a scale: how much are you willing to research, educate yourself, and carefully choose your investments to align with your belief systems.

Why Ethical Investing Matters

Where you put your money makes a difference in what happens in the world. If you want to live a life aligned with your deepest values, then this means that you also give attention to where you spend and invest your money. This is one tangible way that you have an impact on the world. You get to have a voice in creating the world that you want to see.

Moreover, ethical investing helps you to live a richer life. Money matters but it simply isn’t everything. Having all of the money in the world doesn’t feel good to most people if they get it by doing harm. The more you dig deep inside to understand your core values, the happier you’ll likely be. When you invest in ways that support those values, it feels good.

Is It Ethical to Invest in Mining?

If you have no interest at all in the effects mining has on the world,  then you have no quandary. For you, investing in mining doesn’t compete with your values. But many people do have concerns about this topic.

Why Is Mining a Problem?

The major concern that people have when it comes to ethical investing in mining is the damage that mining does to the environment. MIT notes that “unregulated mining has the potential to release harmful substances into the soil, air, and water.” It doesn’t matter what type of mining you’re doing – open pit, underground, etc. Regardless, it all has the potential to cause environmental damage. This kind of damage can harm the planet and all of the things living on it, including humans.

But It’s Not Always a Problem

Scientists agree that mining can cause environmental damage. However, it doesn’t always have to. The risks can be mitigated. The American Geosciences Institute says, “The key to effective mitigation lies in implementing scientific and technological advances that prevent or control undesired environmental impacts.” When proper regulation, oversight, and care, the environmental damage can be limited.

Honestly, It’s a Tough Issue for Ethical Investing

When it comes down to it, mining is not a clear cut issue. It’s not good or bad. Yes, it can cause some environmental damage. But at the same time, to stop mining all together would significantly change our lives. Not all humans are prepared for that. Moreover, sometimes there is a lot of good with the bad.

Consider, for example, lithium mining. Stockhead, in discussing the issue of ethical investing in the mining industry, reminds us that, “Lithium is mostly used for battery energy storage and other positive uses like more energy efficient production of glass.” So, although the mining itself may cause environmental harm, the way the lithium is used can make environmental improvements. How does one balance that?

This is where we circle back to that question of how much research you’re willing to do. Mining isn’t an either/or issue. Therefore, ethical investing in mining requires that you really delve into the nuances of the topic. If you want to be responsible about it, then you will need to research the effects of different types of mining. Moreover, you’ll need to look at the practices of different companies. It’s not easy, but then perhaps living a life truly aligned with your own ethics isn’t easy.

Tips for Ethical Investing In Mining

If you want to invest in mining, then the first thing to do is to ask yourself what ethics you have about the situation. The better you know yourself, the better you’ll be able to tell if your investments align with your beliefs. For example, the same article about lithium mining discusses uranium mining. On the one hand, it can go to build weapons, which is highly unethical to some people. On the other hand, it has lower emissions than other mining, so that could be ethical for other people. Knowing your values helps you make your investing decisions.

Next up is to do the research. Learn about different kinds of mining. Learn about the companies you might want to invest in. Of course, each person will do this to varying degrees. Therefore, do what feels comfortable for you.

Here are some additional tips for ethical investing in mining:

  • Ask yourself about the end use of the product being mined? Does it contribute to a world that aligns with your ethics?
  • Generally speaking, investing in oil and coal currently aren’t considered ethical investments.
  • How transparent about the big issues are the companies you invest with?
  • What are each company’s goals and commitments to offsetting the problems of the industry?
  • What can you learn about human rights abuses and exploitation in the mining industries?
  • Work with a financial advisor who understands your ethics and will help you find the right investments.

What do you think: Is it ethical to invest in mining?

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