Archive | Mining Documentaries

Treasures of the Earth: Metals – (Nova Documentary – December 1, 2016)


Treasures of the Earth: Metals

What is it about the nature of metals that have made them a pillar of human civilization?

“Treasures of the Earth: Gems, Metals, and Power” is a 3-part series that will take us on a journey deep inside Earth to uncover the mysteries of how these treasures were created, and to explore how they have allowed humankind to progress and build our great civilizations. Continue Reading →

Mining Documentary: Review: In ‘Bisbee ’17,’ Anti-Union Violence Haunts an Arizona Town – by A.O. Scott (New York Times – September 4, 2018)

Bisbee, Ariz., not far from the Mexican border, is a quiet former mining town, one of many such places scattered across the American West. Tombstone, site of the gunfight at the O.K. Corral and a popular tourist destination, is just up the road.

Bisbee has a notably violent episode in its past as well, an event that is the subject of “Bisbee ’17,” Robert Greene’s clearsighted and gratifyingly complicated new documentary.

Starting on July 12, 1917 — a few months after the United States entered World War I and in the midst of labor agitation across the mining industry — sheriff’s deputies rounded up around 1,200 people thought to be union activists, forced them into boxcars and transported them to the New Mexico desert. Continue Reading →

O’Neill ‘undermining’ Bougainville peace deal, vote plan, says Miriori – by PMC Editor (Asia Pacific Report – May 8, 2018)

Asia Pacific Report

A Bougainvillean leader has accused Papua New Guinean Prime Minister Peter O’Neill of “undermining” the island’s 17-year-old peace agreement and the independence vote due next year.

Martin Miriori also condemned O’Nell for lacking sensitivity over Bougainville that struck a New Zealand-brokered peace agreement which ended a 10-year civil war and included a referendum vote on independence.

Miriori, a Panguna landowner and pro-independence leader, was reacting to a statement by O’Neill at the Business Forum in Brisbane last week and repeated in PNG’s The National newspaper that the vote was not about independence, but what was best for the people of Bougainville. Continue Reading →

The Uranium Film Festival & The Perils of Nuclear Power – by Carolyn Fortuna (Clean Technica – December 27, 2017)

White block letters flash in over a stark black background. “You can’t smell it. You can’t see it. But if Tschernobyl” — a gray industrial landscape of towers and high walled enclosures appears. “Fukushima. You can hear it.” A Geiger counter eerily, constantly clicks in the background. “This is uranium.” uranium film festivalA disembodied hand wrapped in a purple latex glove lifts a wedge of rock.

Then cartoon characters scream and run haphazardly across the screen. They tear at their helmet-covered heads while a warning horn punctuates the chaos. A spokesperson with a wry smile then says, “Uranium changes everything.”

Two sets of clips from mid-20th century black-and-white horror films are next, followed by a blinding yellow ball of light with a golden halo and violet rays around it. The light dissolves into an atomic bomb detonation with accompanying screams of terror. Continue Reading →

[Copper Mining History] Deportation ‘17: A Film About a Film in Bisbee, Arizona

Deportation ’17: A Film About a Film in Bisbee from Lone Protestor on Vimeo.

July 12, 2017 marked the 100th anniversary of the Bisbee Deportation, where over a thousand striking miners were rounded up by the mining company, forced onto cattle cars and deported to the New Mexico desert. As a film crew comes to Bisbee to make a documentary about the Deportation, the whole town gets into the act.
The documentary Bisbee ’17 will be produced by 4th Row Films and is directed by Robert Greene.

The following is from Bisbee, Arizona, queen of the western copper camps, 1917. The protagonists in a bitter strike: the Wobblies (the IWW), the toughest union in the history of the West; and Harry Wheeler, the last of the two-gun sheriffs. In this class-war western, they face each other down in the streets of Bisbee, pitting a general strike against the largest posse ever assembled. Continue Reading →

[Norilsk, Russia] Global Lenses: Diverse political films tackle war, energy and the impact of history – by Daniel Glassman (Point Of View Magazine – April 26, 2017)

Three new Canadian films take on contemporary global issues through radically different lenses. Stopping off in an Arctic Russian mining city, the ruins of Basra, Iraq and a massive thermonuclear reactor in Southern France, François Jacob’s A Moon of Nickel and Ice, Ann Shin’s My Enemy, My Brother and Mila Aung-Thwin and Van Royko’s Let There Be Light investigate the entangled issues of history, war, energy and ecology from the bottom up, through intense focuses on individuals and their stories.

Quebecois director Jacob makes his feature debut with A Moon of Nickel and Ice, a multi-faceted portrait of the Siberian nickelmining city of Norilsk. Three facts about Norilsk: It’s the world’s northernmost city with over 100,000 inhabitants; it’s one of the most polluted places in the world; and it’s a “closed city”—foreigners have been banned since 2001, and it was closed to most Russians as well during the Soviet era. Norilsk Nickel’s on-site smelting facility gives the gifts of acid rain, smog and fully 1% of the world’s sulfur dioxide emissions.

You may be wondering how they got 100,000 people to move there. Answer: they forced them. Yes, Norilsk was the site of a Soviet Gulag. Continue Reading →

Blood on the Mountain: Blood on Their Hands – by Michael Berkowitz (Huffington Post – April 18, 2017)

Mari-Lynn Evans and Jordan Freeman’s “Blood on the Mountains” is a searing indictment of the coal industry’s war on the people of Appalachia. But beyond its story of regional devastation, this stirring documentary is a template of class struggle across America.

Evans and Freeman track the development of the coal industry, nicely framing the main issues and players as they roll out their woeful tale. In the late 19th century, cheap abundant coal fueled the United States’ industrial growth. Because this resource was located in rural areas, nascent coal companies were able to steer development.

They could structure every aspect of the companies’ composition and of their workers lives. Coal barons were able to shape this system in part because of the remoteness of mines from population centers and the failure of corrupt local and weak, remote federal governments. Continue Reading →

‘Gold Rush’ reignites influx to Dawson City – by Cody Punter (Toronto Star – March 4, 2017)

Reality-TV shows set in the Yukon have rekindled interest in the northern mining town that preserves its prospecting past.

DAWSON CITY, YUKON-Having a television show set in Canada strike ratings gold in the U.S. is about as rare as — well, as rare as getting rich as a sluice miner in the Yukon in 2016.

When the seventh season of the Yukon-based reality-TV series GoldRush premiered on Discovery Channel last year, it fell just short of the top spot on American cable, coming second only to the opening game of the ALCS between the Cleveland Indians and the Toronto Blue Jays.

In recent years, however, reality-TV shows based in Canada’s far north — Ice Pilots NWT, Ice Road Truckers — have become increasingly popular. Yet nothing has come close to shows such as Gold Rush and its National Geographic Channel competitor Yukon Gold, both of which are shot on location in Dawson City. Continue Reading →

Gold miners hike the Klondike Trail in new reality series – by Emily Fehrenbacher (Alaska Dispatch News – March 17, 2017)

There is a new three-part series on Discovery Channel called “Gold Rush: Parker’s Trail.” It will follow 22-year-old Parker Schnabel, who is apparently already a star of “Gold Rush,” as he attempts to conquer the Klondike Trail.

In the sneak peek for the show, the gangly young adult with a shaggy haircut says, “I want to test myself against my grandpa and the pioneers that came before him.” The more I watched of the 30-second teaser, the more I was convinced Parker is actually Adam Driver researching a new post-“Girls” role.

According to the Discovery Channel’s presser: “In the first episode, Parker and his team will set out on the first leg of the journey, considered one of the most physically challenging parts. The 45-degree ascent would be tough for any seasoned athlete, but is especially difficult for Rick, who’s out of shape, drinks too much and is a smoker.” Continue Reading →

Review: ‘Blood on the Mountain’ Looks at the Ravages of Coal Mining – by Neil Genzlinger (New York Times – November 17, 2016)

“Blood on the Mountain” is a clumsily made attack on the coal industry in West Virginia, but it benefits considerably from the events of the past two weeks.

The film jumps around chronologically and thematically in a way that dilutes its impact, but it still provides plenty of cause to question the wisdom of President-elect Donald J. Trump’s stated intentions of reviving coal mining and reducing environmental and other regulations.

The film, by Mari-Lynn Evans and Jordan Freeman, traces the unpleasant history of coal in West Virginia, including obvious black marks like the 2010 explosion at a Massey Energy Company mine, in which 29 people died, and less obvious ones like vanishing pension and health care benefits. Continue Reading →

Aberfan disaster: 50th anniversary marked with silence (British Broadcasting Corporation – October 21, 2016)

Wales fell silent on Friday as the country remembered the Aberfan disaster 50 years ago.
On 21 October 1966, a mountain of coal waste slid down into a school and houses in the Welsh village, killing 144 people, including 116 children. A day of events to commemorate the disaster included a service at Aberfan Cemetery at 09:15 BST on Friday.

Prince Charles has visited the Aberfan memorial garden and will unveil a plaque in memory of the victims. Earlier, he visited the Aberfan Cemetery and laid a wreath.

He also attended a reception with the families of some of those who lost their lives, before signing a book of remembrance. Prince Charles said anyone old enough remembers where they were when they heard the “appalling news” about the Aberfan disaster – saying he was at school in Scotland. Continue Reading →

Beneath the Surface: a look at early mining in Rankin Inlet – by Sarah Rogers (Nunatsiaq News – October 14, 2016)

Frank Tester’s new documentary premieres at the Inuit Studies Conference

It was the mid-1950s. Elizabeth Alareak had only just married her husband Edward Alareak when he was “summoned” to come and work at the Rankin Inlet nickel mine, among the first mines to operate in the Canadian Arctic, from 1957 to 1962.

“We didn’t understand what a mine was,” she recalled, laughing. “We simply agreed.” The Arviat elder, whose husband has now passed away, is one of the many voices featured in a new film documenting life at the mine and its impact on the region, called Beneath the Surface: Inuit miners at Rankin Inlet 1957-1962.

The film premiered Oct. 9 at the Inuit Studies Conference in St. John’s, Nfld. In the 1950s, the fox pelt market upon which so many Inuit relied for material goods had dropped so low that those who had made their living trapping could no longer survive that way. Continue Reading →

Op-Docs: My Beautiful, Deadly City – by Victoria Fiore (New York Times – August 9, 2016)

Not many people have heard of Norilsk, an industrial cityin an isolated part of Arctic Russia. No roads or trains lead there; internet is severely limited; and it is it closed to foreigners.

Getting there, I would find out, is very difficult. Yet despite its obscurity, Norilsk has one of the largest mining and metallurgical complexes in the world and produces most of the earth’s palladium, an essential mineral in electronics and automobiles. Most of us probably have a bit of Norilsk in our pockets, bags or homes.

Having this connection to such an alien place intrigued me; Norilsk was the most important city I’d never heard of. Continue Reading →

The New Gold Rush: How the Yukon became Canada’s most reality-TVed jurisdiction – by Tristin Hopper (National Post – July 11, 2016)

Two years ago, the National Post wrote about how the Yukon is the last place in Canada still handing out homesteads. In the months since, an incredible four separate production companies asked for contacts to shoot a “Yukon Homesteaders” reality T.V. pilot.

The Yukon might be the country’s most lightly populated jurisdiction, but it’s apparently filled with Canada’s most watchable people. As of this writing, there is one “Yukon” series for every 5,000 Yukoners, and many more movie-length documentaries and special episodes set in the territory. The result is arguably the world’s highest regional per-capita density of documentary camera crews.

In a place renowned for its misfits and recluses, this hasn’t always been the most welcome development. But there is apparently no noun or activity that can’t be made into a hit T.V. show without adding the words “Yukon” or “Klondike.” Continue Reading →

‘Fireflies In The Abyss’ Is A Sobering Look At The Lives Of Meghalaya Coal Miners – by Suprateek Chatterjee (HuffPost India – July 7, 2016)

Filmmaker Chandrashekhar Reddy recalls the first time he stepped inside a coal mining pit. It was in mid-2012, near Lad Rymbai, Meghalaya. It was pitch-black, of course, and he could feel the oxygen levels falling as he descended down a slippery wooden ladder, terrified that he might fall off.

When he got to the bottom, he realised he lacked the flexibility to actually navigate the tunnels, the so-called ‘rat holes’, which are barely big enough for a fully grown adult to crawl through. “I had to be put in a cart and wheeled around in turns by some of the other men working there,” he said, in a conversation with HuffPost India.
“Despite the lack of oxygen, I saw some of them smoking in there, which, from my knowledge, is quite dangerous, as every mining activity results in the release of methane, which is flammable.” Continue Reading →