Have you ever wondered just how sulfide-ore copper mines pollute their surrounding environments? It’s a good question, because in order to understand the environmental impacts, we must first understand all of the ways sulfide-ore copper mining can cause harm to the surrounding lakes, streams, wetlands and forests. Independent studies show many vectors of pollution, and combined they create a significant risk of contamination.
Mining companies claim that metallic sulfide mining can be done in a way that would not pollute clean water. But do these non-polluting mines exist? Can we see the proof?
Join Dr. Steve Emerman as he walks us through his report on the Myth of Clean Mining. Dr. Emerman’s examination of other metallic sulfide mines across the country proves that this type of mining cannot be done safely.
A highly informative interview with Dr. Al Gedicks, emeritus professor at UW- La Crosse, about the historic and current challenges facing sulfide mining in the Midwest.
Extractive industries are responsible for half of the world’s carbon emissions and more than 80% of biodiversity loss, according to the most comprehensive environmental tally undertaken of mining and farming.
Directed by Michigander Jeff Gibbs and produced by Michael Moore, this mind-blowing documentary sheds a light on the dark side of the so-called "green energy revolution." Technologies like wind, solar, nuclear and biomass require tremendous amounts of environmental destruction and mining and, contrary to popular opinion, lead to more fossil fuel use rather than less.
We cannot simply oppose a copper mine without understanding the factors behind the desire to extract the mineral in the first place. Due to the recently passed Build Back Better Act and Defense Production Act, the United States is in the process of prioritizing domestic mining for the sake of the so-called "green energy revolution." Supposedly, technologies like wind, solar, etc. will reduce civilization's carbon footprint and lead to a more environmentally-friendly planet. But in "Green Illusions," Michigan engineer Ozzie Zehner reveals that in fact the opposite is true: in addition to requiring vast quantities of fossil fuels to produce, maintain, and decommission, alternative energy sources require mining on a scale unprecedented in the history of Planet Earth.
This is the most cogent environmental work of the 21st century and should be required reading for all humans.
Two highly qualified Google engineers who have spent years studying and trying to improve renewable energy technology have stated quite bluntly that renewables will never permit the human race to cut CO2 emissions to the levels demanded by climate activists. Whatever the future holds, it is not a renewables-powered civilisation: such a thing is impossible.
Please study this chart carefully: Green tech purports to be different from traditional fossil fuels, but in fact the only real distinguishing trait is that the pollution required to generate it is outsourced and thus invisible.
Watch author and activist Max Wilbert's presentation to the Club of Rome, in which he unveils the environmental devastation which is fueling the current alternative energy gold-rush.
Far from creating a cleaner planet, electric cars require massive amounts of mining compared to conventional vehic. Environmentalists have always been opposed to mining and the use of batteries (which are highly contaminating upon disposal at the end of their short lifespans), but suddenly our movement has turned into the lobbying arm for billionaire technocratic corporations. We cannot oppose a new copper mine without simultaneously questioning the deeper agenda fueling the industry's profitability.
Canadian company Highland Copper Inc. wants to drill under the Presque Isle River to seize minerals from directly beneath Porcupine Mountains State Park, the largest tract of mixed old growth forest remaining in the Midwest.
Unlike the White Pine North Mine (closed 1997 due to environmental concerns) which consisted of ore graded at 20% purity, Copperwood's ore grade is estimated at only 1.5%, meaning that nearly 99% of mined material will be stored as 50+ million tons of heavy-metal laden waste rock on topography that slopes towards Lake Superior. Toxins of concern include mercury, arsenic, selenium, and lead. The data show that more than a third of tailings dams are at high risk of causing catastrophic damage to nearby communities if they crumble, and there are already multiple instances of serious failures.
In addition to destroying 50+ acres of wetlands and forever altering the course of 5 streams, the project would be permitted to dump half a million gallons of wastewater per day into Namebinag Creek, which empties into Lake Superior. Namebinag Creek is also home to populations of Redside Dace, classified in Michigan as an Endangered Species requiring legal protection.
The operation would likely lead to audible rock grinding and subterranean blasts using toxic ammonium nitrate which would be felt for miles around (see slide 8), both on the North Country Trail and in the Presque Isle Scenic Area of the State Park, and possibly even at Black River Harbor. As with the development of Eagle Mine in Marquette County, we can expect non-stop industrial traffic on County Road 519, heavy metal-laden dust from exhaust vents which travels far from its source on the wind, and light pollution of the night skies, one of the most cherished aspects of the Presque Isle Campground. Given that the Copperwood is a metallic sulfide mine, there remain concerns regarding acid mine drainage — an irreversible contamination of wetlands and waterways.
Minerals are important, but so is common sense. Regardless of how one feels about the role of mining in society, we must all agree on a basic point: some locations are worse than others, and this one's as bad as it gets. The area is home to multiple fresh water resources, a unique old growth ecosystem, and a thriving eco-tourism industry where visitors come from far and wide seeking pristine nature. Is it really worth jeopardizing all this when copper is not even on the list of critical minerals?
Canadian company Highland Copper is a junior exploration company with zero experience opening and operating a mine, which already has a track record of violating permits and degrading wetlands. But they aren't letting that slow them down: even though they lack key permits related to stream alterations and engineering of their tailings disposal facility, they have already begun their "summer site prep" of clearcutting and wetlands destruction.
The situation may seem dire, but...
Other movements have been successful with less than a tenth of what we're fighting for: a world-famous State Park home a unique old-growth ecosystem; a historic hiking trail — the longest national trail in the country — and of course Lake Superior, the largest and wildest of the Great Lakes, representing 10% of the world's surface freshwater.
Protecting the health of these entities is an issue that should unite everyone, regardless of politics, race, and religion. But we won't win through good reasons on paper — we'll win by taking action.