Copper Crap-out

LeCain stated that the absence of mining was not an option. (Pg. 25) The only option was to come up with new technological fixes that would allow them to continue mining. By using technological fixes the miners were able to measure more accurately and improve their maps and dig even deeper. The result was underground flooding, heat and poor ventilation. (Pg. 37) They also used things like hydraulic mining. Hydraulic mining ended up washing away thousands of acres of California forest, destroying fisheries and good farmland on the way. (pg. 39) Perhaps the worst technological fix was the open pit low-grade copper mining and deep hard rock mining. These methods of mining caused flooding, and they were always on the verge of collapsing. This left the mines unsafe for the workers. People continued to find technological fixes until some mines went as far as 3,000 feet underground. Because the mines were so deep, they were also very hot and they could make a person physically ill. (Pg. 41) The air quality was so poor in the mines in Butte that a technological fix needed to be invented. Invented it was, in the form of an “oxygen breathing apparatus.” (Pg. 45) Honestly, I could go on and on, there are so many examples of this cycle that I cannot write them all down in a 300-word blog. The chapter goes on for pages about all of the problems in butte and throughout the world.


I think that mining does need to be safe for it to continue because it has already caused an insane amount of problems and pain. I think that before people must understand the dangers and all of the problems of mining so they know what they are getting themselves, and the environment into. I don’t really know how to address all of the problems of mining during and after the process because I think there are still potential risks that we don’t know about and don’t understand the effect they will have on the environment. I wish we could understand everything so we could avoid serious problems, but this paper demonstrated that the problems never stopped, and I don’t think they will ever stop long enough for us to understand how to address and fix the problem.