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Dangers and Dark Side of Gold Mining

August 8, 2011

The history of gold shows humanity’s obsession with this precious metal. Information on gold reveals that mining became necessary as people had to dig further and further to get to gold deposits. People would be willing to go to great lengths to obtain even a small nugget of this metal. Unfortunately, often safety precautions are not used to help the people working in the mines or the environment. Recent gold news has shown the tremendous impact left behind by gold mining.

Who knows what the miner went though to get these gold nuggets?

Information about gold mining often points out that workers are stuck in dangerous conditions with limited pay. They are forced to work extremely long hours and are not compensated justly. During the long history of gold mining, the rights of workers have not been respected. They have been viewed as insignificant resources that can be easily replaced. Gold news has revealed that this way of doing business has not changed in recent years.

Gold resources are not easy to obtain, so often dangerous and toxic processes must be used. Cyanide extraction is a popular method that has been in gold news for decades. Unfortunately, it is toxic and lethal to people. Workers who are forced to use cyanide extraction are exposed to this dangerous chemical. In addition, recent information on gold shows that the cyanide is left behind after gold mining has ended. It can enter the water stream, leach into the soil and cause tremendous damage to the environmental surroundings. The history of gold has shown that mining companies are not interested in cleaning up this environmental disaster.

Most mining companies that specialize in gold are only interested in profit. They destroy large quantities of land and rock to get to the precious metal, pay extremely low wages to workers and never worry about cleaning up the site once the mine is closed. Gold resources are easily depleted in some areas, and the mining company moves on to the next target. They do not care about the environment. In the process of constructing the mine and maintaining it, gold mining companies push out the natural wildlife in the area. They have driven many animals to dangerously low population levels, but they do not appear to care.

Gold nuggets are pretty, but what is the cost to the environment?

Gold mines are often located in sparsely populated rural areas. The history of gold has shown that many of the residents who surround these areas are either driven out or paid to leave. They say gold mining companies are able to make deals with local governments to push these people off of their land. Gold mining has a dangerous and dark side to the workers, environment and local cities and towns. This is why it smart to recycle already existing gold to be made into new items, this lessens the dark impact of gold mining.

Sources:

“Behind Gold’s Glitter: Torn Lands and Pointed Questions.” NY Times Online. June 14, 2010.

“Environmental Impacts at Fort Belknap from Gold Mining.” DLESE Community Services Project.







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