Every Day is Earth Day!
For those who work in the mineral supply business, every day is earth day, but we won’t object to a special day in April which celebrates the source of all our resources.
Everything that we use every day comes from resources that man mines from the crust or grows on the surface of the earth. EVERYTHING – no exceptions. I wonder how those who oppose any new development can square that with the realty of getting their message (of totally no growth) out via the newspaper, radio, television, e-mail, slick brochures (usually asking for money to oppose any development). All these media require materials produced from the earth, and also require lots of energy.
Modern mineral resources production requires local community consent, and compliance with lots and lots of regulations. In fact, if you are the type of environmentalist that believes that mining needs to be regulated to the max, or almost the max, then you would choose to have all mining be conducted in California where mining is strictly regulated and mining operations are reviewed annually by lead agencies to confirm compliance to conditions, including approved reclamation plans. Would these totally no growth environmentalists prefer to produce minerals somewhere else where there are inferior regulations? I suppose that if you are a regulate-to-the-max environmentalist then you might even want to mine only in San Bernardino County where our county officials have considerable experience in dealing with minerals and sensitive habitats, because San Bernardino is really a mining county, with more mines, and more variety of minerals than any other California County.
But we know that is not possible don’t we? We know that even in California, the nation’s leader in non-fuel mineral production, about 8% of the United States’ total mineral production (at a value of over $3.6 billion), minerals occur where they are solely because of natural geologic processes. And although California is lucky in that many of the minerals which support California’s economy, especially construction materials like aggregate and cement, are available locally, there are still plenty of minerals that California and the U.S. must import because they do not occur in our country.
There are about 1,156 active mines producing non-fuel minerals in the state, employing about 11,000 people. These mining sites and all the older mining sites as well cover much less than 2% of the total land in our state, and provide all the construction materials that went into your house, your street, your church, your school, library, local firehouse or police facility. Every bridge, aqueduct, even railroad bed was constructed with local materials. The food on your table and the clothes in your closet has come to you via the most sophisticated and regulated transportation system on earth. Trucks and rail carry every thing you use every day to the local market or store for your convenience. And all the materials that went into making the food and clothes, computers, appliances, and transporting those things to your community come from the Earth’s crust.
So we in the mining community celebrate Earth Day every day. We know that mining, the process of getting the minerals out of the Earth’s crust, is a big part of our economy. Mining provides all the resources that our communities need to survive and thrive. Miners are reminded every day about where our resources come from and we miners are proud that we provide the very basic resources that make our civilization possible.
Happy Earth Day – Every Day!