Mining Consequences Aren’t Yours And Mine

LeCain offers multiple explanations for how technological advances prompted the furthering of underground mining. Firstly, steam powered water pumps allowed groundwater to be cleared from mines exploring deeper than the water table which freed up a great amount of subterrain for excavation. Next, innovations that would play into the survival of workers came to be, such as ventilation systems and breathing systems that aided the workers themselves. As LeCain states, “Anaconda installed one of the most elaborate mining ventilation systems in the nation,”(LeCain 45) allowing for cooler temperatures that made conditions more livable at thousands of feet below the surface. The consequences of developing new technologies for mining range from individual health of workers to the surrounding environment. People looking for a hardworking, well-paying job in the mining industry would be subjected to harsh conditions with unforeseen health impacts at the cost of a wage. The environment also would be victim to the mining industry, whether it be the the Speculator fire damaging the surrounding environment (LeCain 49), or the noxious chemicals floating from plants and killing plants and animals.
The environmental impacts of mining need to be addressed at all stages of the process, from the initial excavations and planning all the way up to the closing of the mine. Mining inherently is an environmentally detrimental process, as it involves the destruction and removal of various parts of the natural setting. However, it is necessary for the functioning of society and can be done in an environmentally conscious manner. If the output and chemicals are monitored and controlled throughout the extent of a mine’s life, it can be marginally safer for all involved. The company that owned the mine during its operation must be held accountable for all potential environmental fallout as a result of the chemicals leached from the ground during the extraction process, as any damage coming from the mine would be an unnatural intrusion on the environment and animals. The resulting costs should be a factor considered by the mining company before drilling or excavating any ores from the ground.

One thought on “Mining Consequences Aren’t Yours And Mine”

  1. While I agree with your thoughts on holding mining companies accountable for their mines, what do we do for the companies who no longer exist? Going forward, the monitoring of chemicals in mines is an achievable goal but how about for mines that were exhausted before we realized how permanent the damage we’ve been doing is? There is no easy fix, and in some cases a fix at all, so learning from the past and applying those those lessons towards future ventures, is crucial, as you pointed out. If we can make environmental sustainability the more profitable option, companies should “self regulate” (there’s a better term but i can’t think of it). However, we can’t retroactively change the policies of the past and, for now in some cases, a temporary fix is all that we can do. Of course, I’m looking at all this from a purely environmental standpoint and the small picture, that is people’s livelihoods, needs to be taken into account.

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