The Immortal Diamond and Gold By Eli Coakley
Gold. The ultimate sign of wealth. One solid, 5 lb. bar is worth as much as $55248.96! That’s a lot of money! And it has a ton of uses, from jewelry to technology. It is the most ductile and malleable of metals, and one of the main components of microchips, for it is a great conductor of electricity. It is even said to be useful as a metal for safeguarding spaceships because it can reflect infrared energies! Doctors have found medical uses in it as well. Who knows what else it can do! But all that glitters is not gold……
Diamonds. They last forever. A sign of eternal love for most, as well as a fair moneymaker. The first thing everyone thinks about when diamonds come up is jewelry, but in reality only about 20% of them are used for that purpose. Being the hardest substance known to man, most are used in industry: cutting tools, grinders, polishers, and the such, by being embedded into the metal of the tools. They are even used in windows for x-rays and pants (to make them wear resistant)! But what do we have to do to get this powerful substance?
To the left is a gold mine in found in Quebec. As you can see it is extremely large, displacing tons of land and ridding of miles of animal habitats. Similar to the gold mine is this diamond mine in Russia. It is even larger, being 3,900 ft across and 1,772 ft. deep. In fact, it is the largest recorded diamond mine in the world. If it can take away that much land from animals and people, are these mines worth it?
So what’s the effect of this on this big guy? Diamonds and gold both have the same affects on the environment and organisms. The way in which they are mined are about the same, involving a lot of rock and water waste. Stones not used are piled up in close areas because of the cost to move them, creating a hazard to organisms. Dangerous chemicals are often used when mining gold, which harm the soil, the people using them and the surrounding water supply. Diamond mining doesn’t use chemicals, but often times require larger mines. This levels and totally demolishes ecosystems in the area and leaves little chance of successful succession. In one such case, Chinese mine company Zijin Mining was sentenced to a fine of 30 million Yuan ( about 4 million US dollars) for his mining. There was a leak in the sewage water of the plant, spilling tons of waste into the Hangzhou River. It caused the serious declination of fish and bad water pollution.
What problems arise with transportation? Transportation of these materials is not exactly hard, just a delicate matter. With gold, certain places have a limit and how much money they can receive at one time, so it has to be sent over time in parts. Diamonds are a precious gemstone and are often transported in secret, and both suffer from illegal trade and sell. It’s a dangerous business to say the least.