A first in the world, El Salvador has banned the process of mining gold! This article explains why they did so. What the article doesn’t go into is why they are having the problem. The type of mining they use almost exclusively is called Placer Mining. Placer Mining is cheap, easy(compared to digging through rock), and all you need is water, which a stream has plenty of.
So here is the process broke down simply: First find a placer(spanish for sand bank) in your stream. Dredge placer with back hoe, shovels, or garden trowel. Take dredged material and put into a rocker, shaker, sluice box, or some combo thereof. Run said stream water through rocker, shaker, or sluice box. The water combined with any rocking or shaking will leave the gold at the bottom of the device you use. However it sends all the other material back into the stream including the cyanide and mercury that is found naturally in the soil but in very small concentration and greater depths.
Here in the US we have laws that require miners to build a “Catch Pond” that catches all the water and allows the cyanide and mercury to settle back to the bottom and reabsorb into the soil. This process doesn’t really work well. It is only done properly about 75% of the time. The entire process is incredibly destructive, destroying the entire stream from where you dredge up to 5 miles or more down stream. It will kill all the fish and can kill wildlife along the bank. However its still better than nothing which leads to all the poisoning that has occured in El Salvador.
I worked in a placer mine in northern Alaska where the procedure is quite common. I have seen the process first hand and have seen how the process could be greatly improved. However the mine I worked at had 4 catch ponds and several retaining walls in case of a pond breach. Yet still you could see the effects of it on the wild life around the mine and lake the mine was located next to. Of course the stream was destroyed, but in Alaska they don’t really care since they have so many. They also say the wolves kill for sport and don’t use the meat. So everyone is encouraged to shoot and kill the wolves, unoffically ofcourse. Needless to say all mining procedures could use some serious improvment, so could government regulation. Particularly in El Salvador.
USA Jul 1 – A renowned climate scientist, an actress, a former lawmaker, and local residents in West Virginia were arrested last week while protesting the coal mining method of mountaintop removal, which environmental experts and citizens say destroys mountain ranges and contaminates water.
What’s the Story?
The protest came on the heels of a pledge by the Obama administration to reform regulations on mountaintop coal mining in the United States, which activists and environmental experts say will not alleviate the practice’s harmful impact on local wildlife and communities.
“Without a significant change in policy, mining companies will continue to destroy historic mountain ranges and bury communities’ drinking water in toxic waste,” wrote the Rainforest Action Network (RAN) in a statement about the activists’ arrests.
Days before a Congressional hearing on mountaintop removal mining’s effect on water quality in Appalachia, Michael Brune, RAN executive director and a principal protest organizer, said: “This is not a practice that needs to be reformed. It is a practice that needs to be abolished. By sacrificing the Appalachian Mountains for the country’s coal addiction, we undermine future investments in 21st century clean energy solutions that will protect our planet, produce more jobs, and preserve our natural resources.” Read the entire article…
KINSHASA, 1 July 2009 – Continuing clashes between armed groups in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) have forced civilians to abandon their homes in North Kivu and affected aid operations, a UN official said.
“These incidents are causing a significant movement of IDPs [internally displaced people] from the area adjacent to Nyabiondo Masisi,” Lt-Col Jean-Paul Dietrich, spokesman for the UN Mission in DRC (MONUC), said.
The national army, FARDC, recently clashed with the Mayi-Mayi group known as the Alliance of People for a Free and Sovereign Congo (APCLS – Alliance du peuple pour un Congo libre et souverain).
Last week, hundreds of IDPs demonstrated near the town of Sake, 30km south of Goma, North Kivu’s capital, blocking a main road. Read whole article…
SEOUL – South Korean authorities issued a cyber security warning on Wednesday after the Web sites of government agencies and financial institutions were disabled by apparent hacker attacks, possibly linked to North Korea.
South Korea’s spy agency said in a statement an organization and possibly a state was behind the attacks on Tuesday in the world’s most wired nation, and there were signs of “meticulous preparations” for the act.
Yonhap said the National Intelligence Service believes “North Korea or pro-North elements” were behind the hacking attacks, quoting parliament intelligence committee members.
The Web sites of the presidential office, defense ministry, and the National Assembly were saturated with access requests generated by malicious software on Tuesday, crippling server response to legitimate traffic, South Korea’s Communications Commission said in a statement.
“The attacks consisted of massive harmful traffic to specific sites causing access slowdown or disablement, and some national institutions, banks and media sites have been targeted,” it said.
The presidential Blue House said separation of its internal network from the Internet made it impossible for any hackers to gain access to classified information, but some parts of its Web sites remained out of service.
News of the attack pushed shares of some online security firms to jump on Wednesday, with Ahnlab Inc up by the 15 percent daily limit on the junior Kosdaq market, which ended trading down.
The attacks left some government Web sites and online shopping services down on Wednesday and access to some U.S. government sites from the country appeared to have been disabled.
The commission is working to block the spread of malicious software suspected of causing the attack and has advised users to keep security patches and anti-virus programmes up to date.
Police and prosecutors have begun an investigation into the incidents, South Korea’s Yonhap news agency said.
A similar attack on major Web sites in Estonia two years ago prompted the NATO military alliance to review its response against possible “cyber-warfare.”
(Reporting by Jack Kim and Rhee So-eui; Editing by Jonathan Hopfner and Sanjeev Miglani)