TAG: Mining

Mining Towns And Their Forgotten Disasters

Mining Towns And Their Forgotten Disasters

Learning about manmade and natural disasters can give perspective on environmental concerns and historical facts. Uncovering past experiences about places can be interesting, but even more intriguing is digging up information about entire populations and towns that have been affected by unforeseen circumstances. For instance, the town of Wittenoom, Australia has a unique slogan that can be found on a circulating flier: “Visiting Wittenoom is not worth risking your life.” More than scary signage, it actually serves as an ominous warning. The town was built up as a productive mining community. However, it was not until after the mine workers and… read more

Abandoned And Deteriorating Hashima Island

Abandoned And Deteriorating Hashima Island

Appreciating structures and landmarks is a favorite pastime of many. However, the world is full of places that have been long forgotten about and left to decay. Ghost towns provoke interest and allure, but there is also abandoned architecture at sea, floating alone and deteriorating slowly with each ebb and flow. One island that was inhabited and developed in the 1890’s housed a productive coal mine and the workers who toiled there. Hashima Island, also known as Gunkanjima or Battleship Island, was established by the Mitsubishi Corporation as an undersea mining operation. Since the spot of land contained a massive underwater bed of… read more

The Aftermath Of Mining

Sasar Baia Mare Gold Mine Disaster

In 2000, a gold mine tailings dam in Baia Mare, Romania was breached. Soon thereafter, all the cyanide-rich waste it contained – some 100,000 cubic meters of it – flooded into the surrounding watershed. Aside from cutting off the water supply of 2.5 million people, it killed nearly all the aquatic life residing in the nearby water. This event is not unique as we continue destructive practices all over the world, meaning many mountains of once imposing grandeur have had their surroundings reduced to rubble, and their contents exploited. After grounds have been blasted and their contents extracted, mines tailings… read more

Coal Emissions Increase

coal_plant

The coal industry has been in decline in recent years in the U.S. However, despite an 11.4 percent decrease in 2012, coal emissions in the U.S. are expected to grow by 6.19 percent this year, as predicted by the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA). Not quite seven years ago, coal once made up 50 percent of electricity generated in the U.S. It now accounts for 38 percent. Part of coal’s very demise over the last few years has been attributed to the lower cost of natural gas. But as energy needs and the cost of natural gas increase, coal seems… read more

Space Colonization

Space Station concept

It’s something of a tragedy that the prospect of colonizing space never fully materialized after the end of the Cold War, when nationalism was at an all-time high, and our eyes looked to the stars for the next great adventure. As they say, lack of competition means a lack of progress. Traveling to the Moon in 1969 was achieved largely in part by the rivalry between the United States and Russia. The two superpower nations were battling it out for control of the cosmos, and the United States gained the upper hand when Neil Armstrong famously traversed our solar cousin…. read more

Mining Jobs Left Behind

Thermal Solar Plant in Mojave Desert

Check out this awesome slideshow of the world’s largest thermal solar plant under construction in the Mojave desert. When completed, the mind-blowing 300,000 mirrors will put out over 377MW of energy from the sun. It’s a massive undertaking, and one that will only set the bar higher and higher for thermal solar energy plants. In related news, solar plant workers officially eclipsed the amount of miners in the United States. While the numbers fluctuate (80 solar jobs in Alaska compared to 43,000 in California), the total amount of people employed in the solar field is a whopping 119,000+. Right now,… read more

Ethically Manufactured Gadgets

Ethical Electronics

With huge global demand for electronic gadgets especially mobile phones, the need for the minerals to build these electronic devices has sky-rocketed. But have we really considered where and how these minerals are produced? A report last year in Business Week uncovered how tin, a vital element in the production of our favorite gadgets, is mined under horrendous conditions for the workers. The article brought to light an horrific story which has been ignored up to now in the headlong rush to acquire the latest mobile technology. Not just tin, but many other component minerals are mined in Indonesia, where mining is a hazardous… read more

The Cost of Jewelry

Mining for diamonds

When you look at a piece of jewelry, say a diamond ring, you are struck first by its beauty – the precision of its angles, the way the light plays off its cut – its implications, and its cost. Rarely does the first impression invoke questions of the ring’s extensive environmental cost, of which often the debt cannot be repaid. Should you consider the past of a piece of jewelry, you are confronted with the baggage of each material. For every strand of man made pearls, a mussel has had foreign matter inserted into its valves through a human induced… read more

Short Term Thinking?Part 2

The oil and mining industry

In the feverish drive for domestic energy, all energy sources are on the table. With renewable energy, such as wind and solar power, surging, and oil and gas continuing to be not only the primary source of energy, but also the prominent “evil-doer” in the energy industry, other sources have been able to slide under the radar of the public—for better or worse. After the disaster in Fukushima, nuclear energy has been on the ropes, but it is not down for the count. Despite the limitations placed on the nuclear energy industry regarding building new power plants, uranium is still… read more

Uranium Mining Underwater

Uranium Mining Underwater

The ocean has always inspired and supported the human race. We have navigated across them, tapped into their power for energy generation, exploited their creatures for food and minerals for wealth, and we continue to explore their depths for answers to our questions about the planet. Recent experiments have unveiled surprising amounts of uranium hidden beneath the waves. Oceans are estimated to have roughly 5 billion metric tons of uranium, which is a core element for nuclear power generation. The uranium deposits are very diluted and to date there has been no commercially viable method to extract the precious material. Uranium extraction from the ocean… read more