A silly and sad mining story, the end of which we know not. It is all about blue jeans and pumice mines, environmentalists and miners, fashion and permits, and the ignorance of the public to the benefits of mining.
First a picture of a rockwall of pumice and tuff.
It started when Levi Strauss made blue jeans for the miner. Here is a longer rendition of the story:
In 1853, the California gold rush was in full swing, and everyday items were in short supply. Levi Strauss, a 24-year-old German immigrant, left New York for San Francisco with a small supply of dry goods with the intention of opening a branch of his brother’s New York dry goods business. Shortly after his arrival, a prospector wanted to know what Mr. Strauss was selling. When Strauss told him he had rough canvas to use for tents and wagon covers, the prospector said, “You should have brought pants!,” saying he couldn’t find a pair of pants strong enough to last. Levi Strauss had the canvas made into waist overalls. Miners liked the pants, but complained that they tended to chafe. Levi Strauss substituted a twilled cotton cloth from France called “serge de Nimes.” The fabric later became known as denim and the pants were nicknamed blue jeans.
In the middle is the Copar Pumice Mine in New Mexico.
This mine is the primary source of pumice used in the “stone-wash laundry industry.” That pompous term is short (long?) for washing new blue jeans in a mix of water and pumice to give them that rugged, faded, worn look., i.e., to destroy that new look. You know: the more torn, tattered, and battered the jeans, the more you are prepared to pay. So to increase the price the jean’s maker rubs ’em in with a bit of pumice.
Seem the Copar Pumice Mine is the target of every regulatory this side of the Rockies–at least the New Mexico part of the Rockies. From what I know, the mine has been supplying pumice for jeans almost as long as jeans have been pumiced. But while environmentalists love the natural part of blue jeans, they hate the mining that is needed to create the fashionable, environmentalist look. Here is but one link to the woes of the pumice mine as attacked by the blue-jeans clad environmentalists. There are plenty of others depending on your level of concern/interest/jeans-affiliation.