Tim LeCain explains in his book Between the Heavens and the Earth that the Butte copper mines needed to new and deeper levels to extract copper to power the industrializing country. To accomplish such an immense task, engineers schemed up plans of new inventions that would keep miners alive to continue the mission of mining. These inventions would pump water to prevent floods, bring in fresh air so that miners could breath, and even kept the temperature at a survivable level for further operations into the earth. The technologies allowed for a vast and expansive subterranean world right underneath the town of Butte Montana. Much like the town of Butte, the mines now sit decrepit and empty and are prone to collapse. When a collapse occurs people and property are prone to disappear into the toxic earth. Another negative aspect brought about by advanced mining technology was that if it ever failed then people were prone to die.
When it comes to the long term damage done by mining, there’s a lot of thought that should be put into the idea before people should ready their shovels. Mining does horrible damage to the environment…..just look at the moonscape that is Butte Montana. The march of Civilization tends to leave scars on the earth everywhere it goes. Civilization needs minerals extracted from the earth to function, and will not go away until there’s no fuel left. The problem of destroying the environment can only be solved by the death of Civilization. Not that this is really a possibility, but people who shoot for low goals never achieve anything.