For centuries man has been driven in his pursuit of gold, the allure, the intoxication and need to hoard gold, tunnel mining and gold panning were the techniques employed in centuries past but easy to access gold using these benign techniques(In comparison to open pit mining) have all but been exhausetd, most people in developed nations when hearing or thinking about gold mining vision men with picks,shovels and leather pouches for holding their booty, but gold mining hasn`t been done that way in ages, at least not in the industrial sector.
The gold pursued by these mining giants is in the form of specs or flakes of gold, open pit mining is the modern method of mining, massive trucks the size of houses hauling out tons of ore, the ratio of gold from raw ore is staggering, what I mean by that is is the amount of gold extracted from said amount of ore, a mid-range example of the ratio is 30 tonnes ore dug and treated to extract one ounce of gold, these mining giants dig giant open pits, the ore extracted is piled in to larges piles, this method of mining is also known as "Heap Mining", these heaps and piles of ore are than showered with a cyanide solution which separates out the gold and copper from the pile, this method is very effective but the legacy of death, water destruction and wildlife losses is staggering, you see folks this process of extracting copper and gold also releases other long since stored heavy metals, metals like lead, mercury, uranium and countless others, metals that end up being dumped in what is called tailing`s, and as you can see with the mid-range ratio of ore to gold there is a staggering amount of tailing`s. (Vancouver based mining companies accused of deliberate environmental damge,read it here)http://www.vancouversun.com/life/pretty+face+gold/2447763/story.html
That is where tailing ponds come into the picture, or in the case of many third world countries, rivers and the ocean is used for disposing of tailing`s, Canadian companies have been operating with impunity in countries around the world, countries where corrupt governments care not a wit about the environment or the long term and short term disasters, the horror stories I have read are numerous,too numerous to mention all but I will cite a few further along.
Hard rock mining in the United States generates more toxic waste than any other industry, according to the EPA (environmental protection agency) last year they estimated the cost to clean up metal mines would exceed $450 billion dollars, the problem is most of those mines are long since shut down and with mergers and transactions there is no one to pay for the clean-up except governments, time and time again mines are given permission to open pit mine with a promise to clean-up their mess but they are never required to hold in bond or trust anywhere near enough money to even start a clean-up, too many times to count where mining companies suddenly go bankrupt when the clean-up is supposed to ramp up!
Most open pit mining is done in third world countries like Ghana and Guatemala, these mining companies come with promises of jobs and prosperity but nothing could be further from the truth, the amount of jobs are always over stated as are the benefits, and almost always after these short term jobs end( 10 to 20 years) the people are left with dead rivers, heavy metal in ground water and scarred land not fit for animals,farming or human habitation.
An Interesting read about how mining companies overestimate the benefits and underestimate the true costs of these operations.(read it here) http://www.bristolbayalliance.com/mines_and_economics.htm
Just one excerpt from the above article is this ....Economist Dr. Power did an extensive study about mining benefits in Alaska and how they were minuscule compared with the damage they cause......."Fort Knox mine recently poured its one millionth ounce of gold but has yet to pay one dollar in royalties to the government"
All in pursuit of gold, even today there is minimal industrial need for gold, 80% of all gold produced today is used for rings and trinkets, the world doesn`t need gold, are we as British Columbians prepared to spoil our land,water, fish for centuries for baubles and beads?
Recently a Philippine province sued the world`s fifth largest gold company, Canada based Placer Dome claiming they have destroyed a bay, a river and coral reef by dumping enough mining waste to fill to a convoy of trucks that could go encircle the world three times.
Even the world bank has got in on the folly of open pit mining, the world bank had a policy which is now under extreme scrutiny, the world bank would lend money to multi billion dollar companies(Like they need it) to start open pit mines in impoverished nations, the world bank thought the promised job creation was a fair trade-off, not near the amount of jobs claimed ever materialized and corrupt governments gain personal wealth and local people`s are left with less than they started with, left to live with a toxic environment, these open pit mines once they are exhausted are fenced up to keep people out but time after time poor local people go into these sites looking for dregs,looking for gold but finding nothing but early death caused by tunneling into heaps and slag piles only to became laden with chemicals, unfortunately death is not swift but a slow painful deterioration.
The lessons learned are painful, in the late 1990s Montana banned cyanide mining after shocking headlines of the open pit environmental disasters were shown the light of day,what happened there was a complex disaster involving bad science,regulatory gaps...The Zortman and Landusky open pit mines near the tiny towns with a population of 50 people were the first large scale open pit mines opened in the USA (1979) .....The Canadian mining company Pegasus made all the same claims, no harm no foul, but that was far from the truth, cyanide and heavy metals leached into water supplies and the area was left devastated, despite the continual claims from Pegasus to be a good corporate citizen, when it came time to put their money where their mouth was the top executives at Pegasus mining company got $5 million dollar bonuses only for the company to file for bankruptcy protection soon thereafter, another practice of these "good corporate citizens" is when a mine closes in on the end of the life of the said mine there is a sale of the mine to a "shell" company with no assets or at least none that can be accessed, ultimately the shell company claims bankruptcy and disappears, ultimately leaving the state,country,province with the mess and costs to clean-up, IF it can be cleaned up! I recommend that everyone read this piece by the New York Times http://www.nytimes.com/2005/10/24/international/24GOLD.html I give it a 5 ***** rating for information,and shock value, after you read this story you will be almost ashamed to be a Canadian citizen!
Friends, the bottom line is this, Taseko mine isn`t going to build a replacement lake, the replacement lake will be when the giant pit has been exhausted and years later after with enough rainfall to fill the pit it will be one day,perhaps centuries be some sort of water body.
Access roads, giants trucks destroying roads, messing around with cyanide mining,cyanide and acid solutions, millions and millions of gallons of this toxic mix with tailing`s being put into Fish lake, that whole area in the Caribou Chilcotin is part of a larger watershed,the Fraser river watershed, you can`t poison Fish Lake in isolation, it`s part of a vast chain of lakes and ground water, we can`t as civilized beings contaminate lakes, lakes where migratory birds have been visiting for millennia, if there was ever a reason to incite or get involved in civil dis-obedience this is it, I of course am not recommending pitchforks in the street but I couldn`t get angry at anyone who did.
Economic activity, Canada has had plenty and what do we have to show for it, broke governments, citizens swamped in debt, parkinson`s law explains that, "I know Gordon Campbell is a third world monster hiding behind a carbon tax while he ravages our province", higher powers will deal with the premier but we as a nation,as Canadians can`t allow the wholesale destruction of our greatest resource, fresh,clean water full of abundant wildlife, rivers and lakes teeming with fish, as one bright contributor noted, "we can`t eat gold or drink oil".
Contact Canada`s Environment minister here-- Prentice.J@Parl.gc.ca
Environment Canada here--- Enviroinfo@gc.ca
Tell the world my friends, Gordon Campbell and his muted zombie cabinet ministers have long since sold us down the river, now he`s taking away every last fish that inhabit those rivers!
The Straight Goods
Cheers-Eyes Wide Open