Sweet Child of “Mine”… See what I did there?

Tim LeCain talks about dangerous problems that many hard-rock miners run into, including “subterranean flooding, heat, and ventilation” (LeCain, 37). Mining is a dangerous game, and humans, well we just aren’t made to exist underground. However, as LeCain talks about, the advancement of technology for mining makes the subterrestrial (gotta love that word) environment essentially the same as the…terrestrial environment. In my opinion, this is incredibly fascinating, and essentially shows that we’ve beaten the system in terms of taking someplace unsuitable for us to inhabit and altering it so we can inhabit it anyway. Draeger machines took care of Oxygen issues, pumps fixed flooding, technology could even allow miners to work despite extreme temperatures, etc. Even though these technologies have consequences in allowing mining to continue and expand which creates all sorts of environmental issues, when you just look at the ability for mining engineers to solve all these technical problems regarding, you know, survival, this is really quite spectacular if you ask me. I am not at all undermining (“under”, “mining”) the consequences of the practice of mining, but I am admiring the wonders of technological advancement when humanity seeks to achieve a goal.

Everyone understands that mining has negative consequences, and that this practice can have devastating effects on the areas in which it takes place. The two readings highlight the extent to which these negative impacts exist, and the fact that they occur both during and after the mine’s operation. Toxins, collapsing of the ground, and huge gaping holes are just a few mentioned in the readings. However, the issue I see here is that mining is just so important, both historically and even today. Tim LeCain gives us some historical context in talking about how critical copper was with the invention of the light bulb, World War I, and other technological advances. Personally, I believe we will always need mined materials in some way, shape, or form, so simply haulting all mining just seems like an unrealistic (and possibly bad) idea. In all honesty, the solutions which Sandos and Keeling talk about none seem to be the obvious answer, since they all come with their own issues. Personally, I think we need to focus more on the “before” aspect than anything else. Mining companies should weigh their options and carefully select a location to mine that won’t directly affect too many civilians. Since mines are so difficult to clean up, these companies need to control the extent which their project reaches and assume that the land left behind when its all said and done will probably never be one hundred percent safe for use. Unless someone can come up with better, more creative solutions to the negative effects of mining, I really don’t know what the right answer is.

5 thoughts on “Sweet Child of “Mine”… See what I did there?”

  1. I completely agree with you that mining is essential to our history and our modern day life. Realistically, there is no getting rid of it so we must focus on how to reduce the effects or mining itself. Once again, I agree that despite these reduced effects, mining will never be safe for people or the environment. Ultimately, I think it’s possible that humanity won’t be willing to live without mined materials until the resources are diminished and the toxins are overwhelming. That said, trying to survive without these mined materials is inevitable, but for now, at best we will try to come up with scientific innovation and regulation that keeps mining as safe as possible. Nice post!

  2. Although I agree that mining did help us to invent things like the lightbulb and help us make weapons and vehicles to use during wars, I do think that some of the environmental impacts outweigh that. Something like the ground collapsing can happen naturally, for example, sink holes do occur in nature, however, toxins being released not only into the air but into our food and water supply is something that I think will be extremely devastating. Although there are ways to filter water and recall food sources affected by these toxins, people and animals alike are still at risk. I agree that mining companies should select locations that affect a small number of people and that we do need these materials, I hope that we will find an alternative.

  3. First off- this is an exceptionally well-written blog post and I enjoyed reading it very much! Your voice is strong and I appreciate the clever asides you include. Beyond that, I liked that you hit on the important concepts in the readings swiftly and thoroughly. I do feel that the consequences are more severe than you elaborate upon, but the technology is heavily hit enough that I don’t blame you. As far as practices in mining, I like that as far as need for resources you cite significant examples of inventions and products that rely heavily upon mined resources- heavily enough that we are not about to eliminate mining from our society. Additionally it made me feel much better that I wasn’t the only person that didn’t feel like I was able to come up with a viable solution at any point along the process of mining for the resources our society now heavily relies on.

  4. Hey Madalyn! First off this post is very well written! First I agree in your first paragraph how it’s amazing how fast humans can develop new technology when they are working towards a common goal. Another one that comes to my mind is the world wars. And I agree with your second paragraph, mining is here to stay, so we should just try to contain the damage as much as possible. Good job!

  5. I definitely agree with you that mining is a difficult problem to approach, and you do a good job of explaining exactly why. Mines are a terrible thing for the environment, but they are also very necessary for society as it currently is. The only true way to reduce their environmental impacts would be to simply not create them, but that just isn’t a reasonable solution. That being said, it really doesn’t seem like there is a perfect solution to the mining problem, but perhaps in the future there will be some new technology or cleanup procedure that properly deals with the problem.

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