Friday, March 25, 2011

Mining as sport

Jesse McKinley reported this week in the New York Times from the 33d International Intercollegiate Mining Championships in Reno, Nevada. Here's an excerpt:

Equal parts history lesson and he-man contest, the competition involves eight events, each tied to a bygone era of prospecting. There’s the high-pressure action of gold-panning, a concentration-intense test that involves finding flattened BBs (standing in for gold) in a can of dirt.

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All of which, say organizers, is both exciting for students — an engineering-heavy group who come from as far as Australia to compete — and not as easy as it looks.

McKinley even attends to the female mining competitors. He notes, too, the practical angle on the competition--that it can help mining students get jobs. Gold mining, in particular, is seeing a resurgence due to the rising price of the element, with two California gold mines being revived this year.

1 comment:

Dusty said...

In regards to a rebirth in this kind of mining, I want to give further kudos to using the kind of mining techniques you describe in this jovial competition. Gold mining remains a mostly small scale operation that somewhat limits environmental damage because of how it is done and the limits placed upon mining operations. When compared to extraction techniques like strip mining and mountain-top removal, gold mining remains a more "green" form of mining that doesn't mar the beauty of rural environments nearly as much as extraction alternatives.