Placer, The Green Gold
The reputation of placer mining devastating the environment is now a misconception in Canada. Modern placer mining operations are very environmentally conscious. New mines that are being established have very sophisticated reclamation plants built into them.
Best practices include: adding features to the land that notably enhance the area and local community; returning mined land to a condition that is not only structurally sound but also aesthetically pleasing; or cleanup on properties mined prior to mining land use regulations coming into effect.
In the Yukon, mines are compelled by government regulation to "reclaim" all mined land - contour and topsoil the land, returning it to a natural state. No conflict and no irreparable destruction.
Cyanide-leach gold mining has risen to prominence as the world's foremost method of gold extraction — however; concerns are often raised that the copious amounts of cyanide used can have adverse effects on local water supplies. Placer gold is mined from the earth using only gravity and water.
Source: Yukon Energy, Mines and Resources