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October 09, 2007

Mongolia cracks down on ninja gold miners

You probably heard it here first: Mongolia cracks down on ninja gold miners.

Catchy headline aside, it's a very sad story.

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Oh, literal gold miners. And here I thought it was something MMO-related.

Mongolia is the cowboy country of Asia. Look at the soil and foliage in this area. It's probably always going to be a struggle to live here. Anything that can help is worthy. At the same time, you have to note why the riot of bright colors inside the tents and houses makes supreme, redemptive sense.

Gold mining is an environmental as well as social disaster. Small-time miners extract placer gold with mercury, and large mines use cyanide leaching, which occasionally leaks from the pits. Spectacular cyanide spills have occurred in Spain’s Guadaquivir River (including Cote Donaña national park), Guyana’s Essequibo River, Romania’s Tisza River (flows into the Danube), Papua New Guinea’s Fly River, and other places. In modern gold mines hundreds of tons of tailings are produced for a few ounces of gold. There are indispensable industrial and medical uses for gold, but a huge portion, like over half, is consumed as pointless bling bling. Gold as baubles is worthless crap.

I thought it was a plot for an anime-flick.

Jeez, Louise!

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