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Public Radio's Environmental News Magazine (follow us on Google News)

The Living on Earth Almanac

Air Date: Week of

Facts about.. mining.


CURWOOD: One hundred years ago 3 men -- George Carmack, Skookum Jim, and Tagish Charley, discovered what they called a ton of gold on the Klondike River in Canada's Yukon Territory. In the following year alone more than 60,000 people journeyed to the territory as part of the biggest gold rush in North America. Despite their great numbers, the miners of 1896 did little long-term damage to the land. They were limited to panning, digging with hand tools, and blasting in their search for precious ore. And today, much of the area where the miners lived and worked has been turned into parks. Nowadays, because of more powerful and sophisticated technology, mining can cause major environmental problems. One of the biggest dangers is polluted waters from the mines running off into rivers, streams, and aquifers. Mercury and cyanide are often used today in the mining process, and they can be especially deadly in groundwater supplies. And for this week, that's the Living on Earth Almanac.



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