Techno Mining

In his book, LeCaine categorizes techno fixes into three groups. These are transformational, relocational, and delaying (LeCaine, Pg. 138). He first brings up Ducktown, which was mining town that mined copper. Ducktown was both a relocational and a transformational fix. They transformed sulfur dioxide, which was released as a toxic gas, into sulfuric acid. They then transported the acid to be used as fertilizer (LeCaine, Pg. 141). This brings up Lecain’s argument against techno fixes, they do not think of the future consequences. Ducktown’s solution worked at first, but they ignored the fact that the sulfur was still leaking into waterways through the fertilizer. A very similar problem occurred in Anaconda, MT. When mining Anaconda was releasing a toxic level of arsenic into the air, so they discovered a way to filter out a third of the pollutant from the smoke (LeCaine, Pg. 146). They then began to sell the arsenic to make pesticides. And the same problem that occurred in Ducktown, began to happen in Anaconda. Once the mine closed and water levels began to rise, it flowed through many areas that used the arsenic pesticide, which contaminated nearby water sources (LeCaine, Pg. 149). Which comes full circle to LeCaine’s argument, these fixes worked in the short term, but no one took into account future repercussions.

 

It’s no secret that mining produces a lot of waste, but some argue that it’s needed in order to obtain some of the world’s most commonly used materials. In the current world, I would agree with that statement. But I do believe it doesn’t always have to be this way. Instead of pumping money into mining, I believe we should use some of that money on research to try and find alternatives to materials such as copper. If we could find a way to recreate the same attributes of copper without a pollutant production process, it could drastically lower environmental impact. But if it’s discovered that this is just not feasible, there should be new regulations put on mining in order to protect the environment.

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