Hard Rock Mining – Our Featured Gallery

This week we’re featuring our Hardrock Mining gallery from Flickr. Click here to read about the Ft. Knox Gold Mine in Alaska, as shown in just two of the beautiful images below. And checkout the difference between the size of the mine in 2003 and how much bigger it’s grown by 2007.

Ft. Knox Gold Mine, Alaska 2003:

 Ft Knox Gold Mine, Alaska 2007:

Also in our Hardrock Mining gallery are some images of the breathtaking area on Berner’s Bay north of Juneau, Alaska where the Kensington underground gold mine is being built.

Tree clearing around Lower Slate Lake where tailings disposal was being planned:

Berner’s Bay, Alaska, site of Kensington mine:

Some stunning images showing mines in both Brazil and Peru. Read more about them here.

Morro do Ouro Gold mine, Paracatu, Brazil:

Morro do Ouro, detail:

Cerro de Pasco Mine, Peru – panoramic view:

Cerro de Pasco Mine, Peru – Vertical view of pit

From our blog of December, 2009, you can read about how drilling was stopped at the Mt. Tenabo – Cortez Hills Gold Mine in Nevada by a U.S. Federal Court of Appeals.

Mt. Tenabo, Nevada:

Mt. Tenabo, Nevada:

Go check out these and many more images in our Hardrock Mining Gallery, and stay tuned for our next featured gallery!

Mount Tenabo – Cortez Hills Gold Mine Temporarily Halted

Yesterday a federal court of appeals temporarily blocked construction of a proposed 2,000-foot-deep open-pit gold mine on public lands in Nevada. Barrick Gold Corporation’s Cortez Hills Mine is now on hold until the U.S. Bureau of Land Management revises its environmental impact analysis. The court ruled that BLM failed to adequately analyze the potential for the mine on Mount Tenabo to “pollute the air with mercury emissions and dry up scarce water resources.”

Panoramic view of Mount Tenabo, Nevada, site of proposed open-pit gold mine.

The Cortez Hills mine has been vigorously opposed by the Western Shoshone tribe, which considers Mount Tenabo a sacred site. Much construction activity has already taken place for the proposed mine.

See more SkyTruth images of the site here.

Urban Growth: Las Vegas 1984-2009

Not everything that happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas: the city has seriously bulked up in recent decades, something that is very obvious from space. In honor of the Landsat-5 satellite’s jaw-dropping 25th year of operation, NASA has released images taken from 1984 to 2009. The population of Clark County, home of Las Vegas, quadrupled during that time from 463,000 in 1980 to just over 2 million this year.

We used the NASA imagery to generate a time-series of images showing this growth. Another notable feature in the images is the sharp drop in water level in Lake Mead, one of the most important reservoirs on the Colorado River. The rapid population growth in the Colorado basin is colliding with an ongoing drought, and increasing use of water for oil and gas drilling. The development of oil shale — an ongoing controvery — would divert large amounts of water out of the Colorado River system (see a report on projected energy development (including oil shale) and water demands issued by the Colorado River Water Conservation District, and a factsheet on oil shale development and water use from the U.S. Department of Energy).

UPDATE 3/17/09: Western Resource Advocates issued a report today called “Water on the Rocks,” taking a look at the water rights in Colorado that are currently held by companies interested in oil-shale production, and the potential water use that oil-shale production would entail.

UPDATE 6/16/09: Our friends at EcoFlight have uploaded a gallery of photos of Lake Powell, from an overflight on April 30, showing the striking white “bathtub ring” that indicates how far water levels in the reservoir have dropped in recent years. Here’s a good one:

Photo courtesy of EcoFlight – Copyright 2009, all rights reserved.