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Archive for April, 2008

The world must have been a scary place when the kimberlite pipes were spouting.   In what is now Angola, at least 217 volcanoes were erupting to produce 160 pipes containing diamonds.  This scenario, which occurred well before the Cambrian, makes current environmental change seem trivial. 

                                                               Pre-Cambrian Sandstone

But then maybe it took a long, long time to occur and the  landscape was able to adjust at a rate that change-averse humans would find comforting.  No matter: if Lonrho mining has its way the change henceforth will be fast.  They want to drill six of the pipes in the hope there are enough diamonds to support six new mines. 

pre cambrian seabed

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The world must have been a scary place when the kimberlite pipes were spouting.   In what is now Angola, at least 217 volcanoes were erupting to produce 160 pipes containing diamonds.  This scenario, which occurred well before the Cambrian, makes current environmental change seem trivial. 

                                                               Pre-Cambrian Sandstone

But then maybe it took a long, long time to occur and the  landscape was able to adjust at a rate that change-averse humans would find comforting.  No matter: if Lonrho mining has its way the change henceforth will be fast.  They want to drill six of the pipes in the hope there are enough diamonds to support six new mines. 

pre cambrian seabed

(more…)

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Funny how little things can have big consequences.  We all know big things can have big consequences, but that is not my current point. 

Take for example Barack Obama and his pesky priest.  How can you make a man president when he sits for twenty years listening to that hateful sermon?  One little priest spouting his venom may derail what could have been an historic advance. 

They say Churchill became Prime Minister only because the favored candidate had to get one broken tooth fixed and was not there at the crucial vote.  But for a tooth, I might now be blogging in German. 

  

Then this morning come news that “of migrating ducks are dead or dying after landing on a tailings pond owned by Syncrude Canada Ltd. and ice surrounding the small lake full of toxic sludge is hampering rescue efforts.  Company and government officials estimate there are roughly 500 birds trapped in the toxic pond in a disaster that has never before been witnessed in the northern Alberta oilsands region.”

We can argue whether 500 ducks is a small thing or a big thing.  I submit 500 is small in the game of the oil sands–just like 300 was small in the case of the defence of Greece, saving  western civilization, and the defeat of the Persians under Xerxes.

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BlogHerald reports that in the past six months U.S. Newspaper circulation has dropped a further 3.6 per cent.  This is primarily because more people are turning to online resources.  

I do not know the numbers for this blog, but I bet the hits and visitors have gone up by more than 3.6 per cent in the past six months.

A newspaper consists of just the same number of words... 

I do not read newspapers anymore.  I scan the occasional Canadian Globe and Mail; but it is so repetitive: every issue has a least one article on the homeless, one on drug addicts, one on prostitutes, one on buildings that should not be torn down, and one on the wickedness of the US.   Why should I pay for that, or even waste my time looking at my boss’s free copy?

When travelling in the US, I pick up the occasional U.S. News & World Report with its colorful pages.  But even that can be absorbed in less time than it takes the average breakfast waitress to bring the coffee. 

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Golden Bricks – Fall in Vancouver 

The problem with discussion forums on the web is the sheer triviality of it all—unless you are the initiator of the conversation, when the topic is dead serious.  Below are extracts from PomsInOz (the English in Australia) and a discussion on mining ruining Vancouver.  I repeat the questions and comments without edit.  They provide a unique and “honest” perspective of working in a mine or living in a rich city–quite different from the official announcements at conferences in palm-fringed resorts. 

Public Art, Vancouver 

Andy starts out asking: 

hi.. my names andy and im from cornwall uk.
question… are there any miners on this forum that are actually working in the mines in wa. im an experienced underground tin miner (south crofty mine) and would like any advice you guys can give me on this please, companys.. areas..wages.. contacts. been thinking about leaving uk for oz for a while now. i am also a blockie/mason, another option i guess. any help would be great.

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Today is the official World Day for Safety and Health at Work.  The International Labour Organization is the sponsoring organization, as it has been since 2001.

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Two ladies suited up to go uranium mining in East Germany.  And from the AME BC, a news release worthy of comment:

British Columbia’s mineral exploration sector is seeking clarification regarding a provincial government announcement that it will not support the exploration and development of uranium in British Columbia. Safe, environmentally sound uranium exploration is ongoing in six provinces and three territories by well-respected, professionally managed companies. All uranium mining and mine development in Canada is highly regulated by the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission. Canada is the world’s largest uranium producer, and is responsible for approximately 30% of the world’s total uranium production.

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IMG_4077

Bellavista is a common name for beaches, condominium complexes, and estates in Costa Rica.  It is also the name of a mine. 

Above is a picture of a beach by the name of Bellavista.  For lots of pictures of the mine and its story go to this link

In Spanish here is a report on removal of equipment from the site; intriguing?

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Janice Molineau, state mine inspector for underground minesI wish this were just a joke; but it is a fact.  Whenever I post anything on this blog about women in mining, two things happen:

  • I get many quiet comments about being sexist; and
  • The number of page views increases dramatically. 

The number of page views also increases dramatically whenever I use keywords like “pretty lady.”  The reason for this sudden spike of interest is, I suspect, the rather sordid spectacle of men who have automatic alerts to anything new on pretty ladies, women mining, and you can imagine the rest. 

So with some trepidation, I bring your attention to the 2004 report on the III International Conference on “Women and Mining.”  For obvious reasons I do not comment, but leave you to read and decide yourself. 

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At university we formed a trio: all bright, but otherwise different.  One lazy and impractical; one energetic and pragmatic; one imaginative and socially responsible.  We went our separate ways in the world: to Australia, Canada, the United States, and the northern suburbs of Johannesburg.  Occasionally we still interact.  Just as now when I review a paper by one of the trio; and rightly he deserves my review for being so bold as to write the truth that offends. 

Of course he will respond that I distort his pragmatic perspective and tell my own truth which is not his truth.  But that ever was the argument over beers, so why not continue now over old age? 

                                              acid mine drainage near pittston 

The background to this blog posting is a long review I have just posted on TechnoMine.  In that review I write about a number of the papers presented to eighty or so people in Tasmania last week.  At a conference on the hoary old topic of acid mine drainage and acid rock drainage.  I avoid the acronyms ARD and/or AMD.  They looks so innocuous and innocent, whereas the topic is anything but innocuous & innocent.

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