A while ago, we looked at a New York Times story about the serious damage unleashed on the environment by a violent production method known as heap leaching using cyanides. Since the present day gold ores have far lower gold content than in the past, more and more abusive and 'torturous' methods are used to tease gold out, and heap leaching is the most common.
It turns out that the reporters of that story have also published two other stories, examining some of the ill effects of gold production in several other countries as well. I seem to have missed them, but found them all through today's story by Kirk Johnson.
They are all quite long, and highly informative. The environmental damage they recount is chilling. Do read them, and you won't look at gold with the same fascination again.
Here they are:
- Behind Gold's Glitter: Torn Lands and Pointed Questions (24 October 2005)
- Tangled Strands in Fight Over Peru Gold Mine (25 October 2005)
- Below a Mountain of Wealth, a River of Waste (27 December 2005)
- A Drier and Tainted Nevada May Be Legacy of a Gold Rush (30 December 2005).
There's also a Q&A section in which the reporters Jane Perlez and Kirk Johnson answer readers' questions.