I've recently learned alarming facts concerning my favourite
metal and its put a damper on my life's work. Check it out:
I did check out the web site and then I looked at the original
Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) TRI report which the web site
was quoting. The heart of the web site’s message was that hardrock
mining dumps more toxins than any other industry.
A review of the original EPA data discloses that the massive "toxic"
dumping referred to by the web site is the overburden (the stuff that
sits on top of the mineral bearing ore), lower grade ores and the
tailings from ore concentrating operations, all of which are dumped
near the site of the mine. For the most part, these dumps just sit
and do nothing. They are, in fact, the same ground which was dug up
near by and dumped a few blocks away.
The web site was hysterical in making its point that mining is bad
for us. However, looking at the same EPA report quoted by the web
site for the fertilizer industry in Nebraska will make your hair stand
on end if you don’t understand the data.
I have crawled all over a huge number of mine dumps in my home state
of Arizona. These dumps do expose many minerals which would be
difficult to dig down to, and which are in a less weathered state than
surface outcrops of them. I always consider myself lucky when I can
crawl around copper mine dumps and find some of those copper related
"toxins" which were dumped. You and I would call them malachite,
azurite, chrysocolla and, if I’m really lucky, gem silica.
The mining industry has a lot of work to do to become environmentally
friendly, but it is making progress. Sites which promote hysteria to
further their own goals don’t help in bringing the mining industry
along - they tend to polarize public opinion and make compromise
The miners point out that "if it can’t be grown it must be mined."
We are even talking kitty litter here. We have to use mined products
(try to get along without copper for a day - no car, no electricity
and in many areas, no plumbing). The trick is to continue working
toward better mining techniques and improved restoration of mining
sites. Folks who spread missuch as the web site you
mentioned, don’t move us forward.
You had every right to be concerned about what the site said, but
they are playing fast and loose with the facts. By all means
Fredricka, recycle your gold and support responsible mining. But you
can also buy new gold without feeling guilty.
After all, John Burgess has gone to an awful lot of trouble to create
that gold for you.
John McLaughlin Glendale, Arizona @John_McLaughlin