Developing Safety to Curate Harm

The number of deep and oxygen barren mine shafts of early 1900s mining, spurred largely by the search for the base metal copper necessary for the lights of Edison, exploded with the creation of new mining technology (LeCain 41). While these creations—such as the air filtration pump that first entered Butte in 1907, or the other various systems which enriched the ever deepening caverns of mine tunnels—all served the purpose of making mines safer and healthier, they allowed for the miners to dig deeper and farther, which in turn led to new and often more dramatic accidents than were obviously possible (LeCain 45). By making the mines safe, then, new technology provided an opportunity for new levels of danger. This did not by any means stop innovation, and rightly so; much of what was once used in old mine shafts to support and protect the workers later applied to aerospace technology and our understanding of what it truly means for humans to create and sculpt an entirely new ecosystem from technology (LeCain 48).


With our now greater sense of awareness of our relationship to ecosystems, and our inevitable impact should we tamper with them, the creation of new mines should take a systematic approach which accounts not only for the health of the nature in the area, but also for the communities surrounding the potential mine site. Although mining will always take a toll in one or both of these areas, we can more carefully evaluate the effects and future solvents for the damage done by mining and minimize it (Sandlos and Keeling). It will never be a truly “safe” venture, but with an awareness of the aftermath, maybe we can balance our need for resources with our need to more closely relate to nature. I argue that since the safety of mining is impossible, and some negative effects are inevitable, that no—it should not be entirely safe; it should, however, meet the highest possible standards of security and health possible.

1 thought on “Developing Safety to Curate Harm”

  1. I agree with you that we need to take systematic approach to mining in the future. Finding a balance in the mining industry is needed. Mining has a history of being dangerous and will forever have that stigma around it. Mining will never be safe but I think that the mining industry has an obligation to make mining as safe as it can be.

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