The practice of mining in itself drove engineering because it forced engineers to develop safer, more efficient ways for miners to access and extract valuable resources. In the case of the Anaconda mine, and most other mines, this came at the cost of thousands of miners one-hundred years ago and an unsafe environment ever since. Still, the extraction of these resources became pertinent to the economy, and mining was quickly developed and driven to new extremes. One of these extremes involved the “emerging modern ability of human beings to create habitable environments in hostile natural circumstances” (LeCain, Pg. 47). The need for copper created the need for better mining. It is “with these technologies, engineers managers, and miners created a wholly new type of human environment, one in which the seemingly solid categories of the ‘natural’ and the ‘artificial’ became confused and intermixed” (LeCain, Pg. 47). By making inhospitable environments hospitable, we enter a realm in which we were never meant to go. As a consequence, we increase our fingerprint on the environment, damaging its integrity.
The only way to avoid the negative aspects of mining is to not mine. It is true that some forms of mining are more damaging than others and we revolve around the resources we get from mining, so the practice is here to stay. Before getting into the ground, those developing the mine should consider the importance of the surrounding area and other resources, like fresh water and agricultural land, and avoid developing mines in that spot. Also, a safe method of disposing of mining waste should be constructed at this time. During mining, the company must proceed cautiously and not overwork their miners or compromise the structure of a mine, or make shortcuts that will endanger the lives of their workers and poison the environment. After mining, the company must replant over the area and filter all the acid out of the soil. In addition they must closely monitor the soil to ensure the cost to humans and the environment is as minimal as possible. Mining cannot be fail-safe by nature, but it can be done with methods to reduce the negative aspects.