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News Link • Environment

Court OKs dumping gold mine waste in lake

• AP

3 Comments in Response to

Comment by Lola Flores
Entered on:

The government is owned by corporations and the Supreme Court is part of that government.  In today's environment, I wouldn't expect otherwise.  And this is nothing, the best is yet to come!

Comment by Tyger Gilbert
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If you were one of those "common fish" about to be killed, it would be a meaningful, adverse effect to YOU!  :-)

Except for flies, mosquitos, and cock roaches, I'm generally not in favor of killing off higher forms of life, in this case fish, just because it is the easiest or cheapest solution to a problem humans have encountered. This is especially relevant when the problem is part of human activities which are not directly related to the survival of our own species, in this case gold mining. Nor am I in favor of one group of people -- governments, environmentalists, or anyone else -- being able to force another group who owns property to use that property in a specific way just because it is the preferred usage of the non-owner group.

Given the facts and circumstances you described, I would think a "better idea" would be for the miners to use some of that readily available water to create a new lake of their own, which wouldn't already have fish in it, and use that to bury their tailings safely. Since they will already be transporting the waste three miles away, the new lake could be created somewhere beyond the sensitive wetlands nearby, and, if or when the mine ceased operations, that new lake could be stocked just like they promise the old one will be. From what I have seen of humanity, though, people don't always do what seems to be the best idea, or what they promise to do later, either.

Thanks for the informative and rational explanation of the situation.

Comment by Chip Saunders
Entered on:

Knowing something about both gold mining processes and water source hydrology, the Supreme Court made the right decision, and this is not nearly as wrong-headed as the uninitiated will likely assume.


Crushed rock slurry that is processed with Cyanide to extract elemental gold from ore goes through several processes to extract the Cyanide from the slurry so as to be reused. It is also a less toxic and persistent form of Cyanide than the Hydrogen Cyanide most people think of when they imagine the sustance. Before the slurry can be discarded from the processing tanks, the slurry must be more than 99% free of the toxic chemicals used for the coagulation and amalgamation of the gold from the slurry.


Currently, there are tailings piles consiting of dried mounds of this kind of slurry all over the nation and particularly here in Arizona. Rainwater erodes it back into the ground, and/or dry winds blow it as dust far and wide. If it were still as toxic and contaminated as this article would (wrongly) suggest, leaving it above ground is slightly more polluting than to have it perenially submerged under water.


The various metals in the slurry are all byproducts of the same rock as the gold itself. Gold often occurs naturally with percentages of these other metals. Would these people claiming these metals are pollution also call the gold pollution if it were present in the water? This is mere misdirection and deception. If you get water from a well, you are likely getting these same metals in a similar ratio to that if you were to drink water from the lake in question.


In Alaska, the main migratory route for water is on the surface. When the snows thaw and when rains fall, the water flowing across the ground into natural drainage points is the means by which most pollution can easilly travel. However, ALL of Alaska receives this type of surface water, so ALL of Alaska's surface is a potential pollution migration route. If anything toxic is to be kept locallized and stationary in Alaska, it CANNOT be exposed to the surface weather. Given the choice between depositing (potentially) toxic substances above ground or under a lake,...though it seems counter-intuitive to us in the lower 48, Alaska, the sensible choice is to submerge the fill. Alaskans have no need to access such bodies of water for their water supply, as water is something Alaskan residents have an abundance of right in their backyards.


Aside from the small population of common fish that will be killed off, there will be no adverse effects from this activity.

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