Monday, January 12, 2009

Tailings Ponds - A Symbol of Desperation and Kissing Mining Company's Bottom, Line

After decades of green talk governments still let mining companies ruin ponds and lakes, killing life while saving them money. The latest ruckus is going on in Alaska, and the lake is home to trout that feeds First Nations people.

Hundreds of years ago First Nations stocked the pristine lake in the Chilcotin region with fish that have fed generations. Now Taseko Mines Ltd. of Vancouver wants to fill the trout-rich lake with waste from a proposed gold and copper mine. (Telegram Jan. 12)

In 2006 the use of two ponds in this province caused a bit of an uproar but it was too late for Duck Pond which was sacrificed to Aur Resources. Alternatives to using freshwater bodies are artificial tailings ponds. It worked for Louvicourt, Quebec, of which Aur Resources was 30% owner.

The bottom line for business is profit, no problem there. But when it comes to wrecking part of nature, it prompts a few questions about profit. How much profit is not enough profit? Actually, it applies to more than mining companies. The western world makes up about 20% of the world's population yet contributes 80% of the waste. Shouldn't there be more built in environmental responsibility when permitting a business that adds significant amounts of waste to landfills? In South Korea recycling is big, even the plastic straws have to be recycled.

Really, is taking a freshwater pond, that is home to trout, other aquatics, and well for birds, be the best we can expect out of industrial companies, or any business that produces great waste, for that matter? Is that as good as it gets? Sounds like someone is spoiled.

You will hear that not letting ponds to be used as dumps as not being friendly to business, or that it will drive business away. That is the threat that elected officials likely hear from mining officials. It is also printed quite often in major media. In the green age you would think that the old ways of natural destruction was coming to an end, but it appears that government can't seem to take the pacifiers away from some.


Nickname unavailable said...

... as he types on his computer which is supplied by electricity carried over copper wires and hopes that his future electrical needs will be met with a wind generator ... which requires more copper. I am not saying we give mining companies a blank check, but unless you are planning a decrease in the use of copper, we shouldn't give anyone an automatic veto either.

Charles Cheeseman said...

Yes I have already decreased my use of copper by shutting down one computer. Also been recycyling plastic, and hope to switch to fabric bags soon too. As well, further decreases in the use of copper is not too too hard to fathom. We can all do this, live simpler, thus reducing the need for copper, and also reducing the need for many products, and junk, and even health care, if we cut out the right/wrong things.

That's the whole point, we citizens (except for those on poverty line), corporations, can all live with less, and less greed too.

WJM said...

It's amazing, all the new-found environmentalists in Newfoundland, esp. in St. John's, who are tore up about Sandy Pond... and yet are not only saying nothing about the flooding of hydro reservoirs in Labrador, are actively cheering them on.

I don't understand.

Charles Cheeseman said...

WJM, I want to hear more from you on flooding of hydro reservoirs in Labrador, but first a couple of questions/points.
(1) [This is not the main point of the response, but..]
(i)I am curious, who are "all the new-found environmentalists in Newfoundland, esp. in St. John's, who are tore up about Sandy Pond"? If you're labeling me as a new-found environmentalist, ha, go ahead, I just write on whatever I feel like at any given time. And, just because Labrador hyrdo reservoir flooding was not mentioned in this post, does not mean, it has not occurred to me. But that's ok, point taken anyway.
In general, I have seen too, that many in Newfoundland do simply ignore Labradore issues, and take it for granted.

(ii) I have not mentioned Sandy Pond (Long Hr. way) yet in this blog.

(2) Ok, back to Labrador. I would be very interested to learn more about the environmental damage going on there, reservoir flooding. So would you either (a) provide a summary here, or (b) paste links to some of your blog posts/ or other writings related to the topic; or (c) Please feel free to email me information to this address: ccheeseman at nf dot sympatico dot ca.

Don't assume that readers know detail about reservoir flooding, so if you would, could you give detail on the extent of damage, i.e., area size, what fish/wildlife are being affected; how it impacts on people, and human rights.

(3) When it comes to Lower Churchill development in particular, what are the specific flooding implications? Where do you stand/other Labradorians, on the potential development of it? And, what do you suggest people do to affect change of direction of government, or attitude in general?

On the last one, for my part, though it's miniscule, I would write about this here, perhaps elsewhere to draw attention to it. But you know Labrador issues more intimately than anyone in the blogosphere or maybe anywhere, so please share. Again, if you just want to post links from your blog, that's fine.

If I do not hear back from you on this, I will be contacting you again.