What is New Mexico's hardrock mining reclamation law? Why was BHP Copper Co. allowed to dump untreated tailings in Papua, New Guinea's Ok Tedi River, destroying local agriculture and the communities dependent on it? How harmful is chromium to a stream?
You can find the answers in Golden
Dreams, Poisoned Streams, the Mineral Policy Center's new bible for
people concerned about the impacts of hardrock mining on water. The
impacts are dramatic. In the past 100 years, hardrock mines have
contaminated 12,000 miles of U.S. streams, produced acid mine
drainage that will last over 3,000 years, and racked up millions of
dollars in reclamation bills. The scope of this book is mammoth.
Using case studies and technical papers, it discusses the
hydrology, geology, chemistry and law that together explain the
complexities of digging for metals.
premise of the book is delightfully simple: Our quest for precious
metals has poisoned our waters. The fourth chapter - -We know how
to stop pollution' - is its heart. The Mineral Policy Center states
that minerals can be mined safely, that dirty water is not the
necessary cost of using computers, turning on lights, and even
wearing gold chains. Then it shows how few mining companies take
The tone is strict and
enforcing; after all, these are the guys who have dedicated
themselves to reforming the 1872 Mining Law. But the data are clear
and fairly interpreted.
Golden Dreams, Poisoned
Streams was written by Carlos D. Da Rosa and James Lyon and edited
by Philip Hocker. The Mineral Policy Center, 1612 K Street, NW,
Suite 809, Washington, D.C. 20006. 202/887-1872. $24.95. 269 pages.
Illustrated with photographs and illustrations.