Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Old Works Golf Course--Mining Issues

While in Montana, we played golf at the Old Works golf course, a wonderful four star course designed by Jack Nickolaus. The golf course is built on the grounds of the old Anaconda copper mine. This pictures shows the foundation of one of the mining operations buildings, plus the a portion of the huge amount of tailings piled up all over the valley. Old Works was a Superfund Clean Up site that worked to produce something safer, useful, and fun for a large number of people. But it raises questions about how we'll handle mining of minerals we find in the solar system and beyond. Will we drag huge asteroids to Earth to process? And how much added mass can the Earth take before balance is lost? And what will happen to the tailings? If we mine in space, won't we produce a bunch of small projectile meteorites that can cause damage to spacecraft and the other planets in the solar system? Who will control the environmental damage if mined in place?

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