Mining and the Problems that Follow

“Technical obstacles quickly emerged at only 50 feet below the surface, Hearst’s miners hit groundwater and the mine began to flood. Fortunately, Hearst and his partners had the capital to purchase the first steam powered pump to dewater the Comstock Lode, and they then paid a good deal more to have it hauled by wagon from San Francisco.” (LeCain, Pg. 40) This mining technological finding helped miners keep from mining deep without the risk of the mine flooding. Unfortunately, this also did lead to miners mining deeper into the Earth, which did not help the environment surrounding the mines. Also, with the mines getting deeper, the weight of the earth above the mined-out part of the earth became very unstable and created a problem of the possibility of the mine collapsing on the miners.
An example of how these mining techniques have negatively affected the environment around it, is right in our own state in Butte, Montana. The Berkley Pit is a pit that was dug to pull out all of the water trapped in the abandoned mines around the town of Butte. This negatively created a poisonous lake that even to this day, we are not sure what to do with. The pit is composed with multiple different metals that have completely made the water in the pit poisonous. The mines that had the water pulled out were from the once great mining conglomerate, The Anaconda Mining Company. With the new technology coming in everyday, mining might become positive for the environment and not cause problems for future generations. Serious steps need to be set in place for mining to become eco-friendly.

3 thoughts on “Mining and the Problems that Follow”

  1. I only learned about the Butte mining pit/toxic lake just this week and I found that it was a perfect example of the negative impacts of mining. The astonishing thing to me is how long it took for the problem to really arise and at this point, only drastic changes can even begin to “fix” the issue of the lake. I agree wholeheartedly that serious steps need to be taken. And soon.

  2. Kaylor, great blog. You talked about new technologies coming out everyday, what are some of those? Also, what steps can be taken to help with those technologies? I think a good start would be for mining companies to pay a percentage of their profits to research facilities that help the environment. What do you think?

  3. This is very insightful. The pit in Butte is a big problem that may only be fixed if large changes are made. The attempt to fix a small problem in mining created a larger scale problem. Hopefully, new technologies will allow us to fix the issues we’ve created without creating new ones.

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