BEST IELTS Academic Reading Test 434

BEST IELTS Academic Reading Test 434

IELTS Academic Reading Test

Australian Mining Companies in the Asia Pacific Region

Environmental impact on people 

Mining operations by their very nature have major impacts, positive and negative, on the local area and on local communities. They are usually in remote places and the people affected are often isolated or neglected communities.

It is inevitable that mining operations will disturb the environment in a fairly dramatic way. Forest cover may have to be cut down to clear the site of the mine or for access roads. Tunnels or open-cut pits are dug. Overburden (worthless rock or soil covering valuable ore) is removed and dumped nearby, usually to erode slowly into nearby streams and rivers. Tailings (waste rock or ore from a mining operation) from the ore processing plant have to be put somewhere – preferably into an on-site tailings dam, but more likely straight into a river and/or the sea.

IELTS Academic Reading Test

Mine tailings may contain some dangerous chemicals, but the major problem is usually the huge amounts of solid sediment that they put into the river system, and the effect this has on water quality like that and marine life. This can directly affect the livelihood of people living downstream who depend on the river for fish, for drinking water for themselves and their animals or for cooking or washing. Heavy sedimentation can silt up rivers, making transportation difficult and causing fields and forests by the river banks to flood.

Other environmental effects can include air pollution from trucks tearing along dusty access roads, or more seriously, fumes from ore processing plants. Kelera, a woman who lives with her husband and two school-age children near the Australian-owned Emperor Gold Mine in Fiji, describes it thus:

IELTS Academic Reading Test

When the gas comes, sometimes in the morning, it falls like a mist, and all the children start coughing, and we cough too. The people who get asthma, they are the ones who are really frightened to death. But what can you do? When the gas comes, you have to breathe it… You know how strong it is? I tell you. The chili and the betel leave that we grow they just die. It’s as though you took hot water and spilled it on the grass, and the next day you go and see what it looks like. It’s just like that.

Social impact

The social impact of a modern mining operation in a remote area can also be great. Some people may have to move off their land to make way for the mine. Many more will probably relocate themselves voluntarily, moving in from more remote areas to the mining road or the mining settlement, drawn by the prospects of jobs and money, trade stores, and health clinics, or just by the general excitement of the place. In many cases, the men will come in by themselves, leaving the women to fend for themselves back in the village. Traditional agriculture and other pursuits are as a result often neglected.

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But the social environment into which they come is a culturally alien one which can undermine traditional kin and gender relations and traditional authority and control, often with bitter consequences.

Large amounts of cash will normally be injected into the local community in the form of royalties or compensation to landowners, wages to mine workers or payments to sub-contractors. While this can be very beneficial it can also lead to inequalities, disputes, and problems.

Those in the local community who acquire cash from wages or compensation and the power that goes with it are not necessarily those who by tradition hold power in that society. The very advent of cash can have a disruptive effect on traditional social structures.

IELTS Academic Reading Test

Also in societies where resources including cash are owned communally and shared out according to traditional rules and precedents, the injection of very large amounts of money can strain the rules and tempt some to keep more than their entitlement, thus causing internal rifts, disputes, and fighting.

Disputes between landowners and mining companies over payments or compensation are also common and can lead to violent reactions against landowners by the police or armed forces, or repression by the authorities.

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For and against

12 Mining also, of course, brings considerable benefits. Locally it provides jobs and incomes, and for those who use their income wisely, an escape from grinding poverty and a life of hardship and struggle. It also brings development services such as roads, wharves, airstrips, stores, health clinics, and schools, to areas which are usually remote and often neglected by the government. The advent of healthcare and educational facilities to remote areas that would otherwise not have them can be especially beneficial.

Opinions about a mine will usually vary. Those most in favor tend to be those living near the mine and enjoying its facilities, who have been generously compensated for the loss of land or the damaged environment or who are earning good money as mine workers or sub-contractors. Among those least in favor will be women living in or near the mining settlements who have to put up with alcoholism, domestic violence, sexual harassment or other social ills, and people living downstream, far enough away from the mine to be receiving little or no compensation but who nevertheless suffer its polluting effects.

IELTS Academic Reading Test

Using NO MORE THAN THREE WORDS, answer the following questions which are based on the first part of Reading Passage, ‘Environmental impact on people ’.

27. In what kind of areas do mining operations usually occur?

28. What will be cleared from a site before mining begins?

29. Where do the tailings come from?

30. What aspect of mining will have the major impact on the river system?

31. What two air pollutants are often associated with a mining operation?

32. What does the overburden consist of?

IELTS Academic Reading Test

Complete the summary below which is based on the second part of the Reading Passage, ‘Social impact’. 

Choose your answers from the box below the summary. 

Note: There are more words than spaces so you will not use them all. 

You may use any of the words more than once.

Once a mining operation begins the 33………….……. is likely to change considerably. Many people will leave the area, and not all will go 34………….……. Most outsiders who come into the area will find 35………….……. in a culturally alien social environment. Among local villagers, there will often be changes in the traditional 36………….……. which may create dissension. There will also often be 37………….……. over land. Often the intervention of the 38………….……. will be necessary to settle them. All of these factors can have a disastrous 39………….……. on the society. However, improvements in infrastructure and in the provision of 40………….……. services will be beneficial for the community.

IELTS Academic Reading Test

power structurehealth and educationdisputesthemselves
authoritieslocal populationvoluntarilyaway
local peopleoutsidersconsiderationwharves and airstrips
impact       factorsdevelopment 
IELTS Academic Reading Test


BEST IELTS Academic Reading Test 434

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31. DUST / FUMES (must have both)










IELTS Academic Reading Test

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