king copper

Mining has been substantial component in establishing many western territories including Montana. One of the earliest forms of a complex technological system being used in the mining industry was in 1859, the first steam powered pump was used to dewater the Comstock Lode a popular mine in the Sierra Nevada (pg.40 LeCain). One of the main problems that underground mines face is collapsing in on themselves leaving miners buried hundreds, if not thousands of feet below the surface. The solution to collapsing mines was the “square set” developed by Philip Deidesheimer, a German graduate from the best mining school (pg.40 LeCain). This invention allowed mines to be dug up to three miles deep in some cases. However, as you ventured deeper into the earth the temperature increased. Mine companies would try and solve this problem by lowering huge ventilation blowers into to mines to relieve some of the heat. These blowers brought risk factors of their own. Steam powered water pumps continued to play a part in the mining industry. The pumps allowed companies to mine not only beneath the surface but also in once underwater spaces (pg.44 LeCain). Mining has not only had lasting effects on the environment, but on miners and their families as well. Oxygen levels would become low and toxic gasses could be present while working underground. This had eternal effects on miners health. Companies would do combat the risk by providing miners with their own air supply in a machine in a backpack (pg. 46 LeCain). The imprecise methods of mining has had heavy tolls on the environment which will be seen for many yers to come.

Throughout history mining a notoriously dangerous industry. Dangerous to both the environment and miners. Mining has gotten safer as time goes on but there are still a lot of safety hazards that need to be dealt with. When I hear of mining controversies, I immediately think of mining accidents that occur in second and third world countries. I think the worldwide mining industry needs to come together to create a global solution so tragedies like these don’t happen in the future. Additionally, I think of the ever lasting debate of the Pebble mine in Alaska which has potential harmful effects on Bristol Bay and the fisheries in south-west Alaska. 

1 thought on “king copper”

  1. Hey Fritz,
    You made some really good points on the technological advancement in underground mining, and the consequences that come with them. I also agree with everything you said in your second paragraph. The world needs to come together and solve many of the safety and environmental issues that come with mining. If we wish to keep moving forward technologically, then we need to come up with solutions to many of the problems we face when digging for precious materials. However, I feel like you left some key points out on the second paragraph. You are absolutely right that mining has been notoriously dangerous to humans, but besides the Pebble mine in Alaska, you didn’t talk about its effects on the environment that much. I believe strict laws need to be placed so mining companies have to deal with their toxic waste and other environmental issues during mining and long after its closed. Besides that I completely agree with you.

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