Image: Mirny Mine Image: Zhivun
With explosions and massive machines scraping into the earth’s crust like a bad case of scabies, it’s small wonder open cast mining has made what many see as an unpleasant impact on the planet’s surface. The face of the earth is beleaguered with giant scars, scoured out in our ongoing bid to the plunder the planet of its natural resources. We’ve selected 10 of the holes most needing a bit of environmental ointment – where rehabilitation of the land could take some time.
Image: Kalgoorlie Consolidated Gold Mines via ABC
10. Kalgoorlie Super Pit
Kalgoorlie Super Pit is what it says on the tin. Irishman Paddy Hannan first saw the glimmer of gold here back in 1893, and this gigantic pockmark in Western Australia is now its continent’s largest open cut gold mine at 3.5 km long, 1.5 km wide and 360 m deep. It’s huge. And it’s growing. At least, that is, until 2017 when it is expected to cease being productive.
Image: The Super Pit
Threatening to devour the town: The Super Pit, Kalgoorlie
While the Super Pit has the pull of a benign black hole for tourists into good hole-some fun, air pollution, water usage, noise and vibration issues and mining waste are all bones of contention for local residents. Still, as well as coughing up almost 30 tonnes of gold each year, the pit provides work and silver for around 550 employees.