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Thread: Gold Mining and Mercury

  1. #1

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    Gold Mining and Mercury

    I found a fascinating little essay on the close link between the California Gold Rush and Mercury http://limitedinc.blogspot.com/2006/08/solnit.html discussing how the California Gold rush depended on a lesser known "Mecury Rush" near San Jose.

    What's fascinating is how the mercury contamination is continung to this day:

    Quote Originally posted by Limited, Inc
    "The scope of mercury pollution associated with Nevada's gold mining industry wasn't discovered until the EPA changed rules in 1998 to add mercury to the list of toxic discharges required to be reported. When the first numbers were released in 2000, Nevada mines reported the release of 13,576 pounds in 1998. Those numbers have since been revised upward to an estimated 21,098 pounds, or more than 10 tons, to make Nevada the nation's No. 1 source of mercury emissions at the time." Glen Miller, a professor of natural resources and environmental science at the University of Nevada, Reno, estimates that since 1985, the eighteen major gold mines in the state released between 70 and 200 tons of mercury into the environment.


    I have to stop eating so much fish. Scary stuff.

  2. #2
    Cyburbian
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    Quote Originally posted by BKM View post
    What's fascinating is how the mercury contamination is continung to this day:
    I have to stop eating so much fish. Scary stuff.
    One of the lessons I learned from fishing with my grandfather: don't eat the fish caught in mining country. Many of my local mountain streams and lakes in Utah have high levels of mercury and there have been health warnings about releasing all fish caught from those streams.

  3. #3
    Cyburbian otterpop's avatar
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    Mercury, heavy metals, arsenic, cyanide in our ground and surface waters, inside our animals and inside ourselves are some of the prices we pay for mining. The problem is made worse by the fact so many of these mining companies, once they have gotten their profits, claim to be bankrupt and don't clean up the mess they've made. It is the same story all over the West.
    "I am very good at reading women, but I get into trouble for using the Braille method."

    ~ Otterpop ~

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