Would banning mining jeopardize our quality of life? – by Polando T. Dy (Philippine Daily Inquirer – March 27, 2017)


Anti-mining groups proliferate these days. They want to ban mining because it is anti-environment. Do they really mean what they say? Minerals and metals have been part of our way of life for thousands of years. Unless we go back to the Stone Age. Recall the Iron, Copper and Bronze Ages. Disclosure: I studied geology, mining and metallurgy courses at UP Diliman.

Let’s start with our homes. The refrigerator is made of steel. Stainless steel is made from iron, nickel and chromium. The tin cans for canned goods are made from tin and steel. The aluminum cans came from mined alumina. The glass we use is from silica sands.

And the house we live in is made from cement from limestone, steel bars and nails. And how will electrical appliances, like TV and air-conditioners, work without copper wires?

What are cars, ships, railways and planes made of? Cars cannot run without steel body, copper wirings, and batteries. Ship hulls are made of iron and steel. Add to that the cast-iron engines. Most airplanes are made out of aluminum, a lightweight metal. The Ford Tri-Motor, the first passenger plane from 1928, was made out of aluminum.

The most extensively used material in transmission line is aluminum. Glass optical fibers are made from silica. An optical fiber is a single, hair-fine filament drawn from molten silica glass. These fibers are replacing metal wire as the transmission medium in high-speed, high-capacity communications systems.

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