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.