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Sunday, January 08, 2006

All that glitters…

The Goldstrike Mine in Elko, Nev. consumes almost 10 million gallons of water daily from “the driest state in the nation,” the New York Times notes. Thanks to Las Vegas, Nevada is also the fastest growing. Gold mining operates freer from the regulations imposed on coal and oil. Nevada’s gold mines produced 86% of the mercury waste in the U.S. in 2003. And Nevada is being “written off” by environmentalists, according to John D. Leshy, a former lawyer for the Department of Interior.

The New York Times has put together a four-part series -— along with multimedia features and tie-ins with PBS’ Frontline— examining “The Cost of Gold” on both the environment and local communities ranging from Nevada and Montana to Peru and Indonesia.

The Times writes: “The price of gold is higher than it has been in 17 years - pushing $500 an ounce. But much of the gold left to be mined is microscopic and is being wrung from the earth at enormous environmental cost, often in some of the poorest corners of the world.” (The price of gold has since surged to $540.)

One ounce of gold, the amount in a simple ring, leaves behind 30-ton piles of earth usually tainted with cyanide and heavy metal waste. The industry watchdog group Earthworks offers a wealth of information about mining issues as well as a program to help you recycle your old cell phone.

Gregory Yanick - New York
Greener Magazine Staff Writer

view interactive satellite mapping of Goldstrike Mine at Greener Earth Maps

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