Environmental Monitoring in the Extractive Industry

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Why is environmental monitoring in the extractive industry important?

Extractive projects can have damaging impacts on the environment, especially when not monitored properly. Due to the scope of these projects, even small occurrences can turn out to be devastating on the flora, fauna and communities near the project site. Events like the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico remind us of the risks encountered on such large-scale projects. Consequences were incredible: 11 deaths and 4.9 millions of barrels spilled in the Gulf of Mexico. Not to mention an irreversible impact on the fauna, physical environment and communities living in the affected area, or the hundreds of lawsuits filed against BP.

To avoid such events, extractive companies must have a strategy that takes into account their impact on the environment and safety thresholds which are to be monitored and taken seriously. Sustainability of extractive projects has become a key factor to their success, especially considering that the ethics surrounding them and the reputation of extraction companies are more than ever at the focus of attention.

When Is the Timing Right?

As early as possible. Environmental Monitoring must start as early as the beginning of the exploration phase. Why? Changes in the environment can only be traced when compared to a previous situation. Samples must be taken from the environment before it has been affected by any type of human activity in order to assess the extent of the impacts of a given project.

Why Is Environmental Monitoring Important?

Environmental Monitoring is one of the focal elements when it comes to a project’s sustainability. If the physical environment, flora, fauna and communities are negatively impacted by the activities of a project, the repercussions on the project itself as well as the company’s reputation will be critical.

Xavier Dugas is a Business Analyst at Boréalis

To read more about Environmental Monitoring, download our White Paper.

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