Transcript

Why destroy whole mountains to mine copper?

6. This pond contains "tailings" - materials left over after the copper was extracted in the 1980s, when a different mining method was used. 3 This material may pose hazards as air-borne dust, and may leak heavy metals into the groundwater. After "overburden" is removed, miners dig ore from huge open pits Massive trucks carrying ore ply the flat benches lining the pits' sides. This expanse of khaki-colored earth contains tailings and waste rock from mining conducted in the 1980s. These dregs could generate acid, severely 6 harming the environment. Because the processing was less efficient, locals can hunt for blue tinted (copper rich) rock, and extract the metal using sulfuric acid. The ore is crushed into rubble and deposited in rectangular "heap leach fields," where it is doused with a weak sulfuric acid solution 2 to extract copper-rich compounds. These fields – nearly half a mile long – are lined with plastic to keep dangerous materials from the environment. 3 These black ponds contain sulfuric acid solution ready to be sprayed on the ore. Many of the village coppersmiths have moved here, adjacent to the tailings, after their land was confiscated for the mine. 4 The aqua-blue substance is the copper-rich product of heap leaching. It is ready to be converted into thin copper plates, via chemicals and electricity. 8. In Kankone village, well water samples show high levels of dissolved solids or sulfate, making it undrinkable according to a Mandalay lab. GP Source: David Case/GlobalPost Kendra Zamzow, environmental chemist Designed: Kyle Kim/GlobalPost

Why destroy whole mountains to mine copper?

shared by KyleKim on May 01
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Myanmar's controversial Monywa Copper Project, near the village where Ko Ko Aung and others subsist making artisanal copper. But how do villagers extract copper from bedrock?

Publisher

GlobalPost

Designer

Kyle Kim

Category

Business
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