One technological advancement that allowed miners to work in extreme environments is the implementation of ventilation adits in the Comstock Mine. These ventilation adits were long horizontal tunnels going from inside of the mineshaft to the side of the mountain( Lecain 41). They were meant to bring cool, surface air into the mine to help regulate the devilishly hot temperatures that were present thousands of feet below the surface. Another revolutionary technology that was created to help miners be able to be productive was the “oxygen breathing apparatus” which was developed by a Belgian university professor in 1853. One consequence of these breathing masks is the fact that even though these “helmet” men were taught to trust this machine with their life, there was still 27 men who passed away due to working in a toxic mining environment( Lecain 46).
To the best of my knowledge, “mining” will never be synonymous with “environmentally friendly”. No matter how much planning and dedication go into the plans for a future or current mine, there will always be a risk to contaminating the environment or causing large scale problems in the future. Although I say this, there is no other way to get these precious materials that our society relies on so heavily. The best way to go at this problem isn’t the prevention of keeping mines running, but rather, it’s the harm reduction that can be implemented into current mines as well as future mines. With the amount of technology we have today and will have in the upcoming decades, I don’t find it hard to believe that at some point humankind will create a revolutionary technology that can almost null the after effects of mines and their contaminants.