Technological fixes at their finest….

Technological fixes are often used to counteract consequences of human development.  This can be seen in the impact of the Anaconda smelter on the neighboring farms. Within weeks of opening, farmers began to notice a decline in the health of their animals and crops, later concluding it was do to the “yellow smoke” pouring out of the new smelter. (Lecain, 25)  Experts determined why the smoke was deadly, but it was already too for the crops and animals lost. This attempt to overcome hurdles can be seen throughout the mining industry, often ignoring consequences until they are already causing harm. These technological advances Lecain points out, such as the introduction of ventilation systems in sub-terrain mines, did help the image of mining, but resulted in dire costs in the future.  (Lecain, 37) For example, the use of hydraulic mining in California resulted in profitable mines, but lead to the destruction of thousands of acres. (Lecain, 39)

Mining is ingrained in our modern society, and short of discovering an exoplanet that we can successfully and safely mine, the impact mining has needs to be continually assessed.  Better regulations are needed that monitor not only how these mines operate, but how their location is chosen and what happens after the closure of the mine. These ideas, however, only deal with the mining expeditions of the future and do not have an impact on the mishappenings of past mines.  This is something the public is going to have to take on, if it were left up to the companies and government the two entities would argue for years, while the mine continued to do damage. Whether that be by paying for remediation of the sites through taxes or lobbying to have a portion of the state’s budget go towards fixing these lost lands, it is necessary to take action.