Raping the Earth Arizona has been mined for copper for more than 115 years. Whether it is the fictional "Black Mountain" or the real life "Phelps-Dodge", Arizona has been continually mined for Copper. The problems in the book are very real to those of the real world. Mining for Copper has a number of negative effects on the environment.
Copper is mined in three basic ways. The first way to mine copper is underground mining, not mentioned in the book. In underground mining, tunnels or shafts are dug into a mountain, and the copper is then mined in stops or rooms. This form of copper mining is highly mechanized operation, it uses vehicles, rail hauling and a large number of drills. The second method for mining copper is chemical mining. In chemical mining the raw ore is mixed with a acidic solution, then the metal can be removed in a number of ways, an electrical current can be used, or allowing the pure metal to gather at the base of the solution.
Chemical mining is used because it produces a very high grade of metal. The third method of copper mining is open pit mining. This method extracts the metal from the bare surface. In this form of mining large holes are dug in the earth, this looks very similar to a crater from a meteor, this exposes new ore and soil to be excavated. In the fictional town of Grace, "Black Mountain" uses the two methods of pit mining and chemical mining.
The effects of pit mining are great to both the environment and the people living adjacent to the mines. After a period of use the once small pit mines can grow to enormous sizes. The mines exponential growth can and has destroyed forests, wildlife reserves,