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Most underground mines involve ventilation systems. You need to push cool surface air down into those hot, deep workings to keep them cool. The right temperature in underground mine workings is not only a matter of pleasant surroundings. I recall reading that the accident rate jumps as the temperature increases: at about seventy degrees things are optimally safe, at eighty degrees the accident rate soars. Ventilation systems are needed because the rocks are hot from the heat generated by radioactive processes deep in the earth’s interior. Now professors from the University of British Columbia (UBC) are looking at tapping into the heat from closed underground mines. They reckon this is a cheap source of energy for those dwellings and businesses that remain behind after the mine is shut down. Now that is sustainable development for you: first a mine and then a solarium, or should we call it a heatarium or mine-arium?
No recommendations or endorsements implied in this posting. But it is information that attracts my attention and it is information that may benefit a mine somewhere, so I pass it on. Keep in mind I am a semi-retired professional engineer and produce this blog on the basis that I write what interests me, not what may be of commercial benefit. But I am human and cannot be interested in something if it does not come to my attention; the service I write of here came via an unsolicited e-mail.
I do not thinks there is anything wrong or inappropriate about the facts I cite in this article. My Canadian friends bewail the fact that the United States is an imperial power, colonizing smaller nations and exploiting their resources. They deny that Canada is as imperial a colonizer as any. Consider Canadian ownership of United States mines.
Nothing about mining, just a brief report on personal doings. I have just arrived in Cedar Rapids after a flight from Las Vegas where I spent two days . We did the Strip in the best tradition: one thing I miss is the ability to pop a 25 cent piece into a machine. Now the least you can feed into a machine is a dollar bill. It seems so extravagant. I visited my favorite store in all the world: FOA Schwartz with three floors of toys for all ages. Truly the place for people like me who need absolutely nothing more–except more toys. So I bought a chess set of Disney characters: on side is all the villains (and villainesses, if there is such a word) and one side is all the heros and heroines. The fields are all ploughed here in the midwest and the seed planted, but as yet there is no sign of the new corn. So tomorrow I will venture to the farm and return to regular grandkid doings. Thanks for the patience as you kept visiting this blog to read items that are not directly derived from the latest news. I will do that tomorrow as well, for it looks like the villains and heroes of mining have been as busy as ever while I fought Orange Alerts in airport.
Is it fair to brand carbon sequestration as a mining activity? It is sort of mining in reverse: putting something into the ground instead of taking it out. Taken to its logical extreme, we could brand putting high-level radioactive waste into Yucca Mountain as reverse-mining, and even filling of open pits with household solid waste as reverse-mining. Or are these activities simply a manifestation of sustainable mine development and de-development?
The California State Water Resources Control Board by Resolution 92-49 adopted a policy that an area of contaminated groundwater where cleanup cannot be achieved may be designated a Containment Zone. To date no mine in the state has been designated a containment zone, but such a designation would bring clarity and closure to many of the vexing and contentious issue surrounding mine closure in California. This is why.
A conference was planned, people were writing and organizing, and then thing went awry. Here is what I wrote on the topic of Mining Research and Education in anticipation of the now postponed conference. I post these writings now, rather than hide them for a year or more, in the hope that controversial as they are, they may contribute to argument and discussion—hence the formulation of answers by those more knowledgeable than I am. The first question posed by the conference organizers was: What are the best steps to take to promote the essential need for R&D in the Mining Industry? Here is my answer:
Sunday is a time for reading. Actually, I spent yesterday kind-of sailing, as described in a separate piece below. I also cleaned out the attic and found some of my old text books on groundwater. Last evening I reread them, and here is a review of some classics that reward attention:
Wandering the by-ways of the Internet, this news release caught my eye: More than 12 million tons of radioactive waste will be moved away from the Colorado River, which provides drinking water for more than 25 million people across the West. The Department of Energy said the radioactive tailings about 750 feet from the river near Moab in southeastern Utah will be moved, predominantly by rail, to a proposed holding site at Crescent Junction, Utah, about 30 miles from the Colorado River.
The weekend was an orgy of hedonistic southern California pleasure: expensive coffee in the sun; a bike ride along the nine-mile beach; sandcastles besides the incoming waves; wonder at the ski kites that dominate Belmont Shores; and then to San Pedro harbor where we took off on my daughter’s 28-ft long Westsail. I first saw this yacht six years ago sitting high and dry on a dusty back lot east of Palm Springs. Years later and many hours and dollars of work, it now floats proud in the slip, a brilliant blue hull with red trim. We pottered about Los Angeles harbor, engrossed by the big ships and the tankers and the hoards of small boats that ply the calm waters inside the breakwater. We too stayed behind the protection of the breakwater, for beyond the waves were crashing on the rocks and there was news of coast guard action to help sailors in distress. The wind was blowing hard, very hard, all up and down the coast. And the conversation turned to the way the inland desert is heating up and sucking in cool air from the ocean causing the very winds we enjoy and/or fear.