A Necessary Disaster

Technological advances such as water pumps, ventilation, and personal equipment made it possible for miners to go into subterranean areas that would normally kill most human beings (p. 44-45). These technologies were used for what they were initially designed for, and much more. The biggest consequence was that since these technologies existed, they were used to their fullest such as putting miners into places that would normally be avoided due to their toxicity. It caused something similar to overconfidence with some of the engineers, as they believed that since they could conquer the subterranean, they could deal with the pollution output by smelters as well (p. 54).

Mining is without a doubt an environmentally damaging process, but solving that is far easier said than done. Personally I believe that a mine’s impacts should be considered right from the beginning, and updated as the mine progresses. Each mine will likely have different impacts, which will therefore mean each mine’s solution will be different as well. To completely avoid the environmental damages of mining, you would have to not mine in the first place, unfortunately, this is most likely impossible for our current world to continue as it is. It is possible that sometime in the future mining will become more environmentally safe, but how long that may take is simply indeterminable. Personally I believe that mining should be as environmentally safe as possible because mining is necessary. However, from the way things currently are with mines often thrusting the costs onto the public, rather than dealing with it themselves, it seems like the mining companies have little or no desire to advance in the way of environmental protections.

One thought on “A Necessary Disaster”

  1. I agree with you that mining is a necessary evil. It is difficult to get mining companies to own up and pay for the costs. Maybe a solution could be taxing them or some sort of account on the side for just helping with environmental costs. If the companies do not agree to that, then they can’t mine at the location. Do you think that we will see environmentally safe mines in our lifetime?

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