It’s all in the $$

Technology is important for mining because it can be used to make the mines run deeper and make more money. Theoretically you could use technology to make the mines safer for the people working, but this is generally not what happens. The invention of underground portable breathing apparatuses made it so that miners could go into sections of the mine that had filled with toxic gas. They could be used so that miners could control fires and make repairs in sections of the mine that would have otherwise been too dangerous to send humans into. However, “…companies demanded that miners use the helmets merely so they could continue extracting ore in a toxic section of the mine. In an earlier age, these mines would have been abandoned, but with breathing machines, miners could continue to work in such dangerous underground environments.” (LeCain 47) The consequence of improving technology in this case is that companies can improve their production rates. They can keep mines running longer and deeper than they used to, and it makes them more productive.

Despite Lecain saying that early mining engineers felt that they could easily work technology into a harmony with the environment, the reality is that mining is pretty much always going to damage the environment and humans in some way. The methods of separating the metals from the unwanted byproducts use chemicals that must be ultimately disposed of somehow. To be profitable, mines need to produce as much product as they can in an amount of time. This means that they will push the limits of the environment and the human workers, and not consider what will come after.


3 thoughts on “It’s all in the $$”

  1. I like your title! Your post is really good and i think you hit on all the important aspects mentioned in the task. With this reading, do you think that they should take the environment and worker health more into consideration or do you think mining is fine where its at? Thats just something i was thinking while reading, great post!

  2. I like how you talked about how the technological advancements were geared towards profit and extracting more metals more so than for the safety of the miners. I agree with you completely. Underground breathing apparatuses and the pumping of breathable oxygen into the depths of the mines wasn’t for the safety of the miners, it was only so the miners could work long hours in more and more dangerous areas and depths. I would assume the discussions that the mining company executives had didn’t take into consideration the health of their miners, but only how to get them to mine more metals for longer periods of time at more dangerous depths in more dangerous areas. I enjoyed your post!

  3. I completely agree with your second paragraph. There’s no way that mining can be sustainable and there isn’t much evidence that it can be done without harming the environment. Also, I think you made a good point that the technological advances were meant to be made as safety precautions and safety measures, but really were ways to make mining a more economically efficient industry. It’s sort of scary that even if we don’t align with the values of mining and we don’t support the thought of mining we definitely economically support the mining industry and it’s super hard to get away from that since we rely on technology.

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