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  1. #21

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    Thanks for the replies, I have to go out but I will reply tonight. I do detect a tone seeping in that could cause rapid degeneration of the topic, and I really would like to keep it civilized. I am not insulting, criticizing, or patronizing anyone else's beliefs, attitudes, or actions, so please try to have the same respect for mine.


    Wayne

  2. #22
    Photo Engineer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BrianShaw View Post
    Speaking of PCs... is it possible that the environmental damage created (as we type and speak) by the computer industry is far more significant than the environmental impacts of photography. Perhaps we should turn some environmental conciousness toward reducing computer usage. We might be doing double-damage by using a computer to talk about our photography. :o
    The computer industry and digital photography both contribute as much damage to the environment or more than analog photography.

    Most all serious environmental pollutants were removed from analog photo product manufacturing and processing in the 60s and 70s.

    At least this is true of Kodak. Recently, Fuji introduced tellurium sensitization in their products which is a toxic substance. IDK what effect that will have on the envronment. Kodak chose to not use this method of sensitization, nor did they use selenium, another alternative.

    PE

  3. #23

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    Quote Originally Posted by BrianShaw View Post
    To be fair, Wayne, you also have to include some consideration of the environmental conciousness that was introduced to the mining industry about 30 years ago and how those regulations/policies has changed the way they do their business. Although we have many, many bad examples of past mining practices still haunting us, we have many examples of better mining practices that are with us today that seek to minimize negative effects on the environment. These practices have drove many mining companies out of existance; they simply could not afford to stay in business once the environmental protection requirements were levied on them. Those that remain actively mining today are mining with broader goals (a blend of corporate profit AND environmental protection) and have made significant committments to environmental protection and restoration. These companies need to be given credit where credit is due!
    Like I said, the writing I will be doing is only obliquely related to mining. Its just what got me thinking about this, along with all of the exploration and new mining operations popping up around the upper midwest.

    From what I can gather, the "state of the art technology" especially in regards to sulfide mining, the type most often being proposed locally, has been in use for too short of a time to determine its effectiveness.

    I know that there have been major environmental problems caused by sulfide (and other) mining operations with "state of the art" technology in the last 10-20 years in the US. Here is just one example

    http://www.bettermines.org/grousecreek.cfm you can read more examples of recent mining debacles by looking under Community Stories.

    I have seen environmental groups claim that all known sulfide mines have caused serious pollution problems. I am skeptical of sweeping claims like that (and I belong to no environmental group) but I think there must be more than a little truth in it. The bottom line seems to be these things are a crap shoot, the environmental outcome for a given mine is essentially unpredictable. I think that is a "fair" as anyone can be. Even the bond that companies often post for cleanup can be inadequate to cover the cost. The spiel about state of the art technology has been around for a long time, I tend not to have much faith in that either. I'm sure that every single mine that has polluted or violated environmental laws promised left and right that they wouldnt. And even "clean" mines, if there really are any, are wasteful energy hogs. But the real question is, are new ones really necessary?

    Are they necessary to produce my photographic silver (or platinum, or whatever)?

  4. #24

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    Quote Originally Posted by Photo Engineer View Post

    What are you going to say about the use of metal in coins everywhere in
    the world. This all comes from mines. Oh, and don't forget coal, still
    in heavy use in some areas.
    All very true, but these are mostly distractions from the topic at hand.
    I have no choice but to use the money my government creates in order
    to survive. I have no practical choice but to buy the electricity my
    provider gets in part from coal-fired plants (because I cant afford a
    solar array), but I'm not happy about it and I conserve as much as possible. Photography is more of a choice, I dont need it to survive.

    Silver represents such a tiny fraction of all of these that this whole
    thread is virtually a joke if it points only to silver.
    I'm happy you got a laugh, but several of the new and proposed sulfide
    mines in my area are going to be mining gold, platinum, copper, nickel,
    and possibly silver as well.

    If you want to fully eliminate the problem, remove all wiring and
    plumbing from your house, all nails, the appliances, the doorknobs, the
    locks and the snaps and zippers on your clothes just for starters.
    Add to this all jewelry including diamonds.
    Oh, BTW, most salt in the US is mined as well. No more table salt for you!

    Now, you are PC in this regard. And, miners will be safe.

    Thanks, I'm well aware that there are other mining products in my life. :rolleyes: I'm also aware that I cant fully eliminate them all and even if I did it would do nothing to stop child abuse or genocide in Darfur (or any number of other things that could also be deemed more important), but that wont stop me from trying to minimize my contribution to potentially destructive new mining ventures in my back yard (or yours, for that matter). I dont know why you find that worthy of such scorn, especially when there appear to be other options available (eg recycling) that could provide much or all of the photographic metals used today without mining.


    Quote Originally Posted by Photo Engineer View Post
    The computer industry and digital
    photography both contribute as much damage to the environment or more
    than analog photography.
    PE
    I tend to agree, but I dont have any hard data to back it up. I would
    love to see it quantified somehow, since so many people assume digital is cleaner. Thats really a seperate topic, but one I've often wondered about.

  5. #25
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    It was back in the 1960s in a metalurgy class, so who knows, but I saw a film on copper production. Part of the final refining process was to electroplate copper onto a pure target from cast plates of impure copper. A sludge would form in the bottom of the tanks which contained the "impurities" -- non-copper junk -- like gold and silver! At the time it was implied that a considerable portion of our precious metals came as a byproduct from refining copper, not separate mining activity. If that's the case, perhaps most of the mining efforts are driven by the need for copper and brass, not silver.

    Just a passing dangerous thought . . .

    DaveT

  6. #26

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    Quote Originally Posted by Wayne View Post
    I tend to agree, but I dont have any hard data to back it up. I would
    love to see it quantified somehow, since so many people assume digital is cleaner. Thats really a seperate topic, but one I've often wondered about.
    I'm not sure that the pollution effects of halide versus digi are quantifiable, as they involve too many assumptions about 'average' life, degree of recycling of materials, and indeed what consitutes 'pollution': how much toxic cadmium equates to how much inert landfill, etc.

    But I did like the warning at the beginning of the Leica M8 instruction book, to the effect of, 'Do not dispose of this camera in household waste. Take it to a recycling centre.'

    In Europe, of course, the WEEE (Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment) directive is now beginning to bite; manufacturers and retailers are obliged to accept products for recycling, and prices (at least here in France) include an 'eco-participation' fee to pay for this. The biggest difficulty is going to be persuading people to recycle small products such as digi printers or (worse still) mobile phones that they can just chuck in the bin.

    The whole quantifiability thing is interesting. I have an old, thirsty car (20-25 mpg). But it's 35 years old this year, and should be good for another 50 years, so that's a lot of manufacturing energy/materials saved. I work at home, so I don't commute. I have only travelled by air twice in the last 18 months, both times on business, not for pleasure. My séjour (sitting room) is heated by wood, but the rest of the house by electricity: I can't install solar panels on my south-facing roof because the village is a site classé (conservation area). And so forth. There are endless compromises and all we can do is make the ones we think are least harmful to the planet while still preserving a reasonable standard of living, e.g. not going back to bacteriologically dubious water from my well, growing all my own food (backbreaking work, especially as you grow older) and so forth.

    Cheers,

    R.

  7. #27
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    Wayne;

    If sulifdes are your concern then what about the high level of sulfides in Lead mining. Lead is used in automobile batteries. What about the sulfur released by burning coal, or the sulfide released by 'cleaning' coal to make low sulfur coal? What about coke manufacture which releases sulfur byproducts?

    Sulfides can also come from other sources than the mining operation and are used in many places. And, this does not address Selenides or Tellurides which come along with sulfur and are much much more toxic and are used in doping electronic products.

    Just to repeat something I posted elsewhere, an environmental group got after Kodak here for release of methylene chloride into the air. It turned out that the air sampling equipment they used used methylene chloride in its manufacture, and outgassing of the solvent was contaminating the air samples. Kodak had been clean in the area tested and the group lost a lot of credibility. My point is that they had their eyes focused on Kodak and were not looking at the plastics industry as a whole which is far more guilty than EK at the present time. They were so sure that Kodak was guilty, that they were blinded to other possibilities.

    PE

  8. #28

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    Quote Originally Posted by Wayne View Post
    Even the bond that companies often post for cleanup can be inadequate to cover the cost. The spiel about state of the art technology has been around for a long time, I tend not to have much faith in that either. I'm sure that every single mine that has polluted or violated environmental laws promised left and right that they wouldnt. And even "clean" mines, if there really are any, are wasteful energy hogs.
    Yes, I'm sure these are true statements. Mining is not, and can probably never be, fully environmental friendly. Nor can corporate greed ever ensure that promises will be met or government regulations/controls really be complied with. Fines for environmental violations are appaullingly low - a couple of thousand bucks, for instance - for a major incident; It is spit in the ocean compare to their daily cost of operation or profit; This seems to empower them to not care so much.

    I seem to recall someone posting this kind of question/issue before. Can you expand a bit on the thesis of your project? Is it the question of "new vs recycled" in photographic materials as you mention in the OP or something broader?

    Quote Originally Posted by Wayne View Post
    But the real question is, are new ones really necessary?
    An excellent question. I assume that an economist would be better suited to answer than I; I also assume that there is a market for virgin commodities otherwise the mining companies could not economically consider new mines. Who/what is the market they are responding to?

    If there are unreasonable obstacles to recycling of certain commodities versus seeking virgin commodities, the reason for such obstacles might be another "real question".

  9. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wayne View Post
    Thanks for the replies, I have to go out but I will reply tonight. I do detect a tone seeping in that could cause rapid degeneration of the topic, and I really would like to keep it civilized. I am not insulting, criticizing, or patronizing anyone else's beliefs, attitudes, or actions, so please try to have the same respect for mine.


    Wayne
    Hate to say it, but this is a red herring topic. How can this be taken seriously? Mining is a old as civilization. If you want a world free of mining and its consequences, then we would be back to mud huts, grazing on grass, ect. If that's what you would like to do, then by all means do it. But why post such a topic base on fallacious logic?
    Semper Fi & God Bless America
    My Photography Blog

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    Quote Originally Posted by Alex Hawley View Post
    Hate to say it, but this is a red herring topic. How can this be taken seriously? Mining is a old as civilization. If you want a world free of mining and its consequences, then we would be back to mud huts, grazing on grass, ect. If that's what you would like to do, then by all means do it. But why post such a topic base on fallacious logic?
    My topic isnt a red herring, but yours is a straw man. I never said I wanted a world free of mining.


    Wayne

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