Marine mining: the new ecological disaster that is coming

Marine mining: the new ecological disaster that is coming

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By Adán Salgado Andrade

One of the reasons that led mercenaries like Christopher Columbus and those who followed him to search for "lost" territories was the firm belief in myths that ensured the existence of legendary lands, such as "El Dorado" or Atlantis [1], in where lavish constructions were made entirely of gold and precious stones.

One of the reasons that led mercenaries like Christopher Columbus and those who followed him to search for "lost" territories was the firm belief in myths that ensured the existence of legendary lands, such as "El Dorado" or Atlantis [1], in where lavish constructions were made entirely of gold and precious stones. This kind of nonsense was enough so that, at the time, the so-called Western world, beginning with Spain, carried out one of the most devastating depredations, both of the societies, economic, cultural, political systems and the ecosystems that existed in the past. that from the so-called Spanish conquest came to be called America or the new world [2].

Thus, the stupid belief that the great Tenochtitlan swam in gold just because the conquerors were greeted with pectorals, necklaces and all kinds of gold jewelry [3], led those voracious, ignorant mercenaries, as I have already pointed out, to destroy such magnificent, flowery cultures. Not only was the old well-established and balanced exchange society destroyed, but the existing ecosystem was seriously altered, radically modifying crops, hydraulic and hydrological systems, natural drainage systems [4], in addition to the annihilation of the most important systems of exchange, thanks to which, the natives established efficient social relations of production that allowed them to obtain, just thanks to such exchange, all those satisfiers that would make their daily existence full. But the Westerners forced them to commercialize themselves, to pay tributes in gold, silver, pearls, jade ... and since then that greedy, civilized, Western custom of worshiping and fighting for gold has prevailed on a global level! Let's say that there was the first great economic globalization in the history of our changing humanity. And that meant that gold had to be found in the newly conquered territories at any cost and, once it was located, it was exploited by whatever methods were required, whether or not they were eco-friendly [5].

Thus, the bowels of the earth were opened, wounding it with shots and mine tunnels to extract the long-awaited yellow metal and there was no human or natural power that would stop such brutal prey to seize and exploit every new vein that was located. For example, in the nascent United States, on several occasions the native Indians were displaced from the lands that were given to them out of mere pity each time it was discovered that they were settled on gold-bearing areas, since the anxious fever to find the next A great vein of gold to exploit and thus have a new generation of rich men prevailed over the interests of a “handful of starving Indians”, as was the typical way in which the “whites” referred to those poor indigenous people.

And so, after almost five centuries of the advances of "civilization", the fever for the golden metal still does not end, of course, until it is manufactured industrially [6]. And while considerable amounts of gold are still being mined in several countries' gold mines, they are stagnant or flat in decline. For example, for the year 2003, world production was 2,590,000 kg, 10,000 kg less than in 2001, which was 2,600,000 kg and since then it has not been able to recover. For 2005, total production was 2,518,000 Kg. And for 2006, 2,467,000 Kg., Which did not even equal that of 2003. The decrease in 2006 with respect to 2005 was –2, 02%. But from 2006 to 2001, the drop was 5.11%, that is, world gold production has been falling significantly due to the depletion of the mines of the largest producers, such as South Africa, Australia or Peru.

The following table shows some of the main producers and the amount of gold that was extracted from their mines with respect to the years 2005 and 2006:

Gold production (ton)

country20052006% var.
South Africa296275–7,09
Papua N. Guinea66,766,70,00

As can be seen, the 10 main producers, which together contributed 1782.4 tons of gold in 2006, 72.24% of the total (2467 tons), almost all had significant decreases in obtaining the gold metal, the falls being the most strong for Canada, South Africa and Australia. Only China managed to increase its production, although not so significantly, while Indonesia, Papua New Guinea and Ghana maintained it.

This decline occurs at a time when the precious metal serves not only for the fetishistic human satisfaction of wearing it in expensive jewelry, luxurious crafts or for the minting of commemorative coins and medals for celebrations, but also has important applications in electronics, such as such as the manufacture of motherboards and computer circuits. In fact, due to the growing demand, they have sought to recycle the gold used in old computers and electronic equipment that use it. In particular, countries such as China, Pakistan and India use polluting, anti-ecological recovery methods, which cause more damage to the health of the workers who carry them out and to the environment, than the pyrrhic quantities obtained, but the demand is so high and the "economic benefit" achieved justifies such serious damage [7]. Not only that, but in order to extract every last gram of gold from depleted mines, brutal, massive and highly destructive methods are used, such as the dynamiting of entire hills and the application of cyanide to separate the metal from the rocky material, such as This is the case of the infamous activity being carried out by the “Minera San Javier” company, a subsidiary of the Canadian “Metallica Resources”, in the Mexican state of San Luis Potosí, which is thus destroying the emblematic San Pedro hill, the one that even appears on the coat of arms of the capital of Potosí, as an inseparable symbol of its history [8].

But, as if that were not enough, with the constant, recurring economic crises that have gradually weakened the stability of what used to be the "hard currencies", such as the dollar or the yen and even the euro itself, many Central banks, such as the Russian or Chinese, including the traditional US gold reserve, have once again made this metal a source of value accumulation, much in the manner of the old "gold standard", which would not be exposed to fluctuations in currencies, which depend on the country of origin having a "healthy" economy, something increasingly rare in our times. See that even the Chinese stock market has suffered three sharp falls so far this year, which shows that there are no permanent "economic miracles" (See on the Internet my article "Towards a new American and world recession", where I expose the causes of the new crisis that is taking place in the United States).

All of which serves as an excellent pretext for modern gambusinos, totally stripped of all scruples or moral and much less ecological considerations, have come up with the brilliant idea of ​​extracting gold from the bottom of the sea, where, they say, there is enough yellow metal to continue with the intensive and extensive use that it has today. And what a so-called marine mining is having a great boom, because the costs of extraction of the mineral gold on land are increasing due to the fact that the mine shafts have to be made deeper and deeper to find it [9], and despite Due to its scarcity, prices have risen considerably (for example, in 2005 an ounce was worth 445 dollars and today it is around 603 dollars), in some cases the reduced extraction does not compensate the money invested in making the miners happy accounts. One such enterprising gold digger is Mr. David Heydon, an Australian who, claiming that no one owns the right to search the seabed, is applying a massive drilling method, in which a heavy underwater robot is used. six tons and has a height of three meters, which with a huge drill undoes the rocky layer of the seabed in a matter of minutes, lifting tremendous amounts of sand and ground rock that are scattered all around and take several days to settle again , if it is not that the aforementioned robot returns to drill in another new site for the long-awaited search for gold and lifts even more stony and sandy material. Such infamous perforations are made precisely where extinguished marine fumaroles are located, since a few years ago, unfortunately, it was found that they are much richer sources of metals, such as gold, silver, copper and zinc, among others. .

These fumaroles, when they are active, are a kind of marine geysers that are constantly spewing boiling water, accompanied by minerals, which makes them highly corrosive and impossible to explode. Not so the extinguished fumaroles, those that are in a position that the aforementioned robot smashes them in seconds. So with the already documented information on the wealth [10], especially gold, that can be extracted from such sites, much more than on land, Heydon founded the company Nautilus Minerals, with which he almost almost intends to take over the fund sailor who is not part of the territorial waters of any country and demolish at his ease any extinguished smoke to, according to him, do the great business of his life and contribute once again, to a new gold fever, but this time in the seabed, with much higher yields. To do this, Heydon relies on past surveys showing that such sites contain gold at the rate of 10 parts per million, while on average land-based deposits contain only one part per million. In conferences that such an enterprising marine mining company gives to future and potential investors, he assures them that big money awaits. He makes them by showing a documentary, in which a poor sea crab that is about to press a sea snail with its pincers to feed on it, suddenly faces the mechanical monster that is in charge of demolishing the rocks, whose Destructive action violently throws the poor animal, who is also enveloped by a dense cloud of sand and waste material, to the delight of those present, who, unaffected by the anti-ecological scene, rub their hands with the numbers that accompany such despicable action , and that show the high percentages of metals that the crushed material will contain, once they are separated. Thus, it can be seen that 12.2% of the metals separated during such drilling were copper, 4.2% are zinc and a substantial proportion of them are gold and silver, all of which makes the eyes of exploration companies and bankers shine. , insurance companies and other venture capitalists eager to find the next big deal. Heydon explains how this type of marine mining is carried out: the drilling robot approaches one of the extinguished fumaroles, begins to crush rocky material, which is extracted to the surface by means of a 30-centimeter-diameter steel pipe and up to more than two kilometers in length, sucked in by powerful bombs. Then it is deposited in a specially conditioned ship, which is being built by one of the companies that have partnered with Heydon, a Belgian dredging company, Jan de Nul, which will be able to store up to 24,000 tons of ground rock in its bowels! which gives an idea that the piercings will be carried indiscriminately. The material obtained is then taken to the ground to be separated and everyone happy and content, to enjoy the metals and the profits made in a big way! For the moment, for the exploratory work, Heydon uses a smaller ship, of less capacity.

Of course, what Heydon does not show, are also the potential damage that such an invasive, destructive method will cause in the sea, since the enormous clouds of dust and sand raised by the drilling action, are scattered everywhere, forming what a scientist , Mr. Rod Fujita, belonging to the Defense of the Environment organization, has baptized it as marine smog, which will be so damaging both to the waters and to the marine species, that if the exploitation is carried out on an industrial scale, as Heydon plans, it could take up to 40 years to settle to the bottom! So let's imagine that all that dissolved dust and sand can, for example, invade the gills of fish or their digestive systems, and kill them irretrievably, covering the sunlight, so necessary for coral colonies, also killing them due to the lack of sunlight. , as well as for plankton, which lives on the photosynthesis carried out with said light and which is the first link in the marine food chain, which in an extreme case could cause the death of all oceanic fauna. On the other hand, many of those sites where drilling is intended have not even been fully investigated and it is unknown what other species could inhabit it, which perhaps have not even been discovered. These and other fatal consequences would cause, as I pointed out, a slow death of a large part of the marine fauna, which, undoubtedly, would cause an oceanic ecological imbalance of unsuspected consequences that, finally, would redound to our own existence, since more than 70% of our food comes from the sea, in addition to being a climate regulator and a vital part of the hydrological cycle. Heydon is not satisfied with all the damage already done to the planet's seas - nor with the ecological damage, in general, already caused on land and air -, whose bottom is littered with garbage, in addition to the fact that a good part of the sewage produced by innumerable cities they are deposited there, no, that one has to continue contributing to their destruction.

However, in his favor, he alleges that environmentalists and environmental groups who criticize him do so without knowing "for sure" the impact that marine mining will have.

Cynically he declares: “The simple truth is that this type of mining will have minimal impact on the sea and the environment. The planet is more damaged by land exploitations ”. Yes, of course, you are right that land mining has destroyed, as I said, since ancient times, brutally large tracts of forest and jungle areas, in addition to the contamination of rivers and lakes that continues due to the so-called metallurgical benefit (that is, , the method to separate the metals from the rocky material), but this, in no way justifies that now it is intended to cause new damage, now to the sea, just because it is already done on land. For "reasoning" as immoral as Heydon's is that we have brought the planet to the brink of an ever closer and more terrible ecological collapse [11]. In any case, very diligent, Heydon, on his own, is paying a team of efficient marine biologists, to nothing less than to certify with their research that no major damage causes marine biology! This is ridiculous, as it is as if the largest manufacturer of genetically modified organisms, Monsanto, paid groups of scientists to certify the safety of its genetically modified corn. It is absurd, because how can the objectivity of their results be believed? Because surely their paid scientists must report, at all times, that there is no harm from their employer's activity, otherwise they would not receive their pay.

You can give us an idea of ​​the lack of professional ethics, the opinion expressed by one of its scientists, Mrs. Cindy Van Dover, of the Marine Laboratory of Duke University, which emphatically states: “Regarding the snails that exist in the smoked vents, as they probably live elsewhere too, so there's no need to worry. In addition, these sites are periodically affected by underwater eruptions, so the species that could inhabit there are surely very well adapted to very harsh living conditions or to eventual disasters. And anyway, if one of those dull fumaroles is destroyed, it is not something uncommon, so if that happens, they are destroyed by natural means, well that mining is done in one or another, the truth, I do not see it biggest problem ”(the underlining to his unfortunate statements is mine). So if this type of professional ethics is going to be the same that Heydon applies in his mining adventurerism, then it is very likely that a new ecological disaster is coming of which, as I said, the consequences that it will have are not even known.

The worst of all is that some serious scientists, such as the aforementioned Fujita, although they have warned ecological protection organizations, such as Greenpeace or Natural Conservancy, of this problem, strangely they have not obtained any response from such organisms. , who showed very little interest in the matter [12].

Meanwhile, Nautilus Minerals shares rise and rise, its investors convinced that it will be the new big Dorado, unfazed by the devastating effects that big money will have on the planet and, of course, on their health, that not all that big full money will be able to remedy.

Published in Socialism or Barbarism, 06/06/07


[1] It was mentioned centuries ago, for example, by the Greek philosopher Plato in his work "Dialogues".

[2] One of the original works that, in my opinion, narrates the brutal changes at all levels imposed by the Spaniards, by blood and fire, of course! Among indigenous peoples such as the Mexica, is the book written around 1550 by the oidor Alonso de Zorita, entitled "The Lords of New Spain", a very obligatory work for all those eager to know that other indigenous holocaust that took place many centuries before the already well-known Jew, but as in those days There were no technologies that allowed to witness that terrible, infamous carnage and destruction, that is why it does not impact so much today.

[3] Metal that actually in Mexican lands was not as abundant as silver, for example.

[4] The consequence of this brutal modification to natural hydrological systems was that Mexico City, already under the Spanish regime, suffered several heavy floods during the centuries that followed. Still today, many areas of the vast metropolitan area of ​​Mexico City tend to flood.

[5] Of course, if today the spirit of protecting nature before anything else is not so widespread, let's imagine that at that time those mercenaries would care less about nature, which the conquered peoples.

[6] According to the American doctor in physics Joe E. Champion, it is possible through the so-called transmutation of metals, a kind of ancient alchemy, to transform the black sands of depleted gold mines into gold, by methods he pointed out in his book Producing precious metals at home, which was published in 1994.

[7] In Chinese towns like Guiyu, open burning of plastics and silicone tablets is very common, in order to recover gold through this very contaminating, rudimentary process, which produces a dense black smoke, very poisonous and extremely harmful to the environment and health. Also acid baths are applied to these wastes on the banks of the rivers to recover the golden metal, permanently contaminating their waters.

[8] What the PAN state government does not care about, which has given the company free way to act, with such impunity, that it has even led several inhabitants of the place to be illegally imprisoned, inventing false charges, only for defending his state from the brutal destructive and anti-ecological actions of the mining company.

[9] In depleted mines, ant mining is practiced, which are people, especially peasants, who, using rudimentary, antiquated methods, manage to extract from such mines, during several days of arduous work, small quantities of the metal, which they then sell to the buyers. Something like this happens in the town of Tunalillo, near Saltillo, located in the Mexican state of Coahuila. These small miners say that the money earned justifies such a painful, patient work, since the kilo of gold is paid between 100 and 110 thousand pesos. But for large miners, so little gold mined from such mines would not justify the investment required.

[10] There are already accurate maps showing where the extinguished vents are located.

[11] There is, for example, global warming, due to which, destructive climatic phenomena such as cyclones, hurricanes, tornadoes and torrential rains, are more frequent every year, since it is practically an extreme way that the ecosystem has to regulate the lack of humidity that such warming causes in many areas, coupled with the brutal deforestation of jungles and forests, since take into account that every day 40 square kilometers of green areas are cut down, destroyed or burned worldwide.

[12] Unless, of course, that Heydon's activity could mean an economic benefit for such organizations or that it has also hired the services of "scientists" belonging to them, to confirm that their activity will not cause any damage, which would be downright despicable.

Video: The Hartley Colliery Disaster 1862 (June 2022).


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