Metal Mining

As I am gathering images for my Intro to Metals class’s next project – Repurposed, I am reminded of one of the reasons for having them do this project. One aspect is to raise the students’ awareness of the impact of metal and diamond mining. The students in my class are all non-art majors who may or may not continue to make jewelry after taking this class, but most of them will go on to be jewelry consumers. So, as I arrange my presentation for the next project, I am slipping in bits of information on the impact of metal and diamond mining, and encouraging them to buy jewelry with recycled metal and conflict-free diamonds. Hopefully in the future they will consider these things when buying jewelry or describing their ideal engagement ring to their future spouse.

For my own work, I try to buy my metal from Hoover and Strong as much as possible since all of their metal is recycled. I also reconstitute old silverware and jewelry into sheet silver. 

Here is some information on metal mining from Ethical Metalsmiths:

-Metal mining is the most toxic polluter in the United States. It is responsible for 96 percent of arsenic emissions and 76 percent of lead emissions.

-Each year in the United States, mines generate an amount of waste equivalent in weight to nearly nine times the trash produced by all its cities and towns combined.
A single gold ring leaves in its wake at least 20 tons of mine waste.

-Accidents throughout the world involving cyanide-laced mine wastes have caused fish kills, severe water pollution, and soil contamination.

-Large-scale mining operations often devastate local economies, cause illnesses, destroy streams and water supplies, and lead to human rights abuses.

-Metal mining employs only .09 percent of the global workforce but consumes as much as 10 percent of world energy.

-Approximately half the gold produced worldwide has or will come from indigenous peoples' lands.


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