Publications

Assessment of Groundwater Sampling Results Completed by the USGS

September 30, 2012 • Tom Myers PhD for Earthworks, Sierra Club, Natural Resources Defense Council

Technical memo analyzing whether US Geological Survey sampling validates EPA investigation into Pavillion groundwater pollution by fracking

EARTHblog

Risking Our Environment and Health to Burn a Few More Years of Natural Gas

January 24, 2012 • Jennifer Krill

The big number to remember in natural gas in the U.S. is that we consumed 24 trillion cubic feet of it in 2010. That’s a lot of hydrocarbons. Today, entire sectors are making decisions about future energy choices based on how much natural gas we have left to burn. And with the Energy Information Administration's new Annual Energy Outlook, it appears we have been making those choices on false assumptions.

The report, released yesterday, issues new estimates of recoverable natural gas in the Marcellus Shale, a vast formation more than a mile below 8 eastern states, including New York, Pennsylvania, West Virginia and Ohio.

EARTHblog

Gold statistics that might frustrate mining-impacted communities

July 15, 2011 • Alan Septoff

The World Gold Council keeps a set of gold statistics.  Among them, how much gold every country in the word keeps in its reserve banks.

According to the WGC (actually originally sourced from the IMF), the largest holder of gold is the U.S. with 8,100 metric tons of gold.  The world, collectively, holds more than 30,000 metric tons.

According to the U.S. Geological Survey, U.S. production of gold in 2010 was 230 metric tons and global production was 2,500 metric tons.

In other words, there is enough gold sitting in just U.S. banks to replaced the annual mined supply for 3 years.  And enough in the world to replace mined gold for more than 10 years.

I wonder what the communities fighting for to protect their communities from unwanted gold mining in Rosia Montana (Romania) or the Wassa district (Ghana) or Yanachocha/Cajamarca (Peru) think of this?

EARTHblog

What could Humala s election mean for mining in Peru?

June 14, 2011 • Nick Magel

Costco

Last weekend, Peru elected a new president. Ollanta  Humala, a left-leaning former military officer, edged out conservative Keiko Fujimori. The election of Humala means many things for Peru and the entire continent of South America. However, I m most interested in whether his position on Peru s booming mining industry could position Peru as a global leader in responsible mining - with full community consultation and inclusion of environmental and labor safeguards.

Recently, Peru has cemented its place as one of the world s largest minerals exporters. The 2009 USGS numbers place Peru as the 3rd largest exporter of copper and tin, 6th largest in gold, and 1st in silver in the world. These rankings may very well increase given the increase in new mining investments made in Peru.  In 2009, we saw a 65% increase from 2008 investments, spiking from $1.7 billon to $2.8 billion. In total, Peru s Energy & Mines Ministry has lined up a staggering $41 billion in mining investment through 2017.

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EARTHblog

Utah needs federal mercury regulations for gold mines

September 15, 2009 • Bonnie Gestring

A recent U.S. Geological Survey revealed pervasive mercury contamination in nearly 300 streams nationwide. While national attention has focused primarily on establishing mercury pollution limits for coal-fired power plants, another major source of mercury pollution to our Western waters has been largely overlooked: gold mining.

EARTHblog

USGS study find mercury every fish. Mining more at fault in western U.S.

August 27, 2009 • Alan Septoff

The U.S. Geological Survey tested approximately 1,000 fish from streams around the country between 1998 and 2005.  Mercury was found in all of them, and at dangerous levels in 25% of them.