Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Abandoned Mine Closure Follow-Up

Anita, instead of Rick, is writing this newsletter. Rick didn't bother to
say so, but I wrote the article on closing abandoned mines for my Physics
for Scientists and Engineers class last semester. (The entire article is on
our blog. http://www.rocktumblers.blogspot.com) I got some feedback from
George of Midway, and thought you might like to hear what other people are

George Said:

Nice technical and historical article.
But with bad poisonous deadly gasses, unstable rotting timbers, magazines of
unstable powder, strewn blasting caps, unmarked deep shafts in dark adits,
loose ceilings, and sometimes deep water; there are plenty of reasons to
close mines on public land for the sake of public safety. What may seem as a
simple sojourn for you or I could well end up as a deadly deal, should one
of our kids wander in unsuspectingly; or should any person be trapped for
even a few seconds by deadly gas .


I respond:

Hi George,
Thank you for your comments. You have a very good point. I wrote this
article, and I believe other safety measures could be taken vs. bulldozing
the mines. However, you are right that there are things that need to be
taken into account before entering a mine. May I include your rebuttal in a
follow up article?

George Responds:

Can do


Then Rick got in the conversation:


I read your comments this morning. I saw that Anita replied but thought I
would throw my $0.02 worth in anyway.

I don't deny that mine exploration is dangerous. But when you consider the
number of people each year injured playing around in old mines vs. the
number of people injured or killed skiing, mountain climbing and hiking, and
snowmobiling, it just doesn't make sense to close mines at a rate of about
$13,000,000 a year. Nor does it make since that they are closed when so
much scientific information is lost. Every mine that is closed is like
closing an underground lab.

The real reason mines are closed is 100% political. Environmentalists have
pushed for the land to be restored to its original condition. This is
counter productive. Mine closure is a huge loss of history. The mining era
of our history is rich and should be preserved, not torn down and hidden.

I have been in dozens if not hundreds of mines in the west. I have seen bad
gas, deep water, loose blocks in the ceiling, magazines full of old sweaty
dynamite, etc. I understand that most people should not be in old mines. I
also think that it is just wrong to tell me I can't do field work in a mine
because I MIGHT get hurt. Government doesn't have the right and shouldn't
have the responsibility to tell me what, when, how, etc. to do when I go
skiing, fix my roof, or go into an abandoned mine- with going into an
abandoned mine the least dangerous.

They are not just closing mines on public land. They are forcing private
property owners to close their abandoned mines or to let the state do it.
Several of these have ended in court with the private property owners always
the looser. This is wrong on many levels of wrong.

People should take responsibility for themselves and not make our government
take responsibility for us and our actions. If you go into a mine it should
be your responsibility to deal with the consequences.

This doesn't mean that I am against the environment. I am for protecting
the environment. I believe that mining can be done in a responsible way
that protects if not enhances the environment. There is no doubt that man
can not exist without mining. Our society and our very existence depend on
mining in some form or another.

I would love to continue with this dialog. Please don't take offence. I am
just offering a different point of. I do believe that this whole thing has
gotten completely out of hand with the mine closures. Every time a mine is
closed a little piece of me is lost. Once Gold Hill is gone, I will have
lost a great friend and mankind will have lost a true place of great
scientific knowledge and research, not to mention the history of mining for
the past 165 years.

Rockpick Legend Co.

And George responds,

You make several good points

Responsible government requires responsible people. It is when society
starts to fill with large segments of irresponsibility, that freedom, by its
very nature, starts to break down as government seeks to protect the foolish
segment from themselves, resulting in a loss of freedom for all.

I'm glad my article stimulated some thought on the subject. That is the
best result I could hope for! If you have an opinion on any rock related
subject, we'd like to know about it. Be sure and let us know if we can
include your comments in a blog or newsletter.

Anita Dalrymple

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