A Drier and Tainted Nevada

New York Times - A Drier and Tainted Nevada May Be Legacy of Gold Rush - The costs to Nevada, its neighbors and even to the rest of the country - are only now coming into focus as diminishing ores foreshadow gold mining's eventual demise and a more urbanized West begins to express concerns over water shortages and mining's other legacies.

"Just outside the chasm of North America's biggest open-pit gold mine there is an immense oasis in the middle of the Nevada desert. It is an idyllic and isolated spot where migratory birds often alight for a stopover. But hardly anything is natural about it.

This is water pumped from the ground by Barrick Gold of Toronto to keep its vast Goldstrike mine from flooding, as the gold company, the world's third largest, carves a canyon 1,600 feet below the level of northern Nevada's aquifer.

Nearly 10 million gallons a day draining away in the driest state in the nation -- and the fastest growing one, propelled by the demographic rocket of Las Vegas -- is just one of the many strange byproducts of Nevada's tangled love affair with gold." Read online


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