National Geographic : 1980 Oct
Some people hear of a gravel pit starting up, think of environmental problems, and want it stopped. Others favor the project for economic benefit, needed mate rials. Who's right? Maybe both, partially. Mining can disrupt normal patterns-creating noise, dust, heavy traffic. Surface mining coal, sand and gravel, copper, iron, other minerals, often buries natural vegetation, wildlife habitats. It can blight scenery, dis rupt farm lands, sometimes leave great craters in the ground. Underground mining doesn't tear up the surface but it, too, can produce unsightly tailing piles that can despoil hillsides and pol lute streams. To be sure, mining has an unat tractive side. But, obviously our lives would be greatly changed without min ing. We need coal for electric power, metals for tools, vehicles and appliances. We need stone for construction, sand and gravel in concrete for roads, bridges, buildings. Mining provides the raw material for all these things. But mining need not be destruc tive. Land is wonderfully adapta ble. Surface mine upheaval can be smoothed out, topsoil removed and replaced. Deep mine waste can be landscaped. Gravel pits made into lakes and parks. The mining industry is working to minimize mining impact. Support ive legislation can set standards so miners can reclaim lands within a competitive framework. They are restoring mined lands to produc tive use for farming, recreation and things like industrial parks, or building sites. Caterpillar makes machines used in mining and land reclama tion. We believe responsible ac tion aimed at long-term multiple land use gives us mines, the min erals we need and the land. There are no simple solutions. Only Intelligent choices. SCCATERPILLAR Caterpillar, Cat and IBare Trademarks of Caterpillar Tractor Co.