The Three Amigos (Remix)

LeCain claims there are three types of technological fixes as they relate to mining: transformational, relocational, and delaying fixes. He animates these theories through two case studies. The first points out the transformational and relocational technological fixes through the Ducktown smelters. They had been releasing sulfur dioxide gas into the surrounding environment, resulting in majorly detrimental impacts. A supposed solution was found in transforming the gas into sulfuric acid and transporting it to farms in the form of fertilizer. Similarly, the byproducts of the Anaconda mine transformed into pesticides and shipped to the south in the name of furthering cotton production, then delayed by storing the arsenic and other toxins in holding facilities for future generations to handle. LeCain argues that the problems with these fixes is that they ignore the larger picture in the name of a quick solution that provides an immediate, although temporary satisfaction (LeCain 142, 150). He also states that these solutions need to be taken with a grain of salt, as they often are repeated throughout history and carry many unforeseen consequences.
These texts adequately point out the downfalls of mining and the current systems we have in place to minimize their environmental fallout. I would say however, that mining structures, similar to social structures, cannot simply be overhauled in a night or even in a year. The processes of change for such major operations must be taken step by step, and the actions calculated along the way to prevent similar mistakes of missing potential consequences. I am a deeply seated supporter of the environment, but I acknowledge that we need elements such as copper to fuel the technology of society, and cannot call off mining simply in the environmental conservation. I believe LeCain’s argument is valid, but needs to be revamped to be more applicable to modern society’s needs.

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