Mining advances civilization


May 9, 2019

How important is mining for civilization? Thousands of years ago copper ore was work hardened to form crude tools. Much later copper was alloyed with tin ore to produce bronze, a semi-hard metal that could be cast into agricultural tools, gears, bells, works of art, bearings, bushings, etc. Thus the Bronze Age revolutionized civilization. About 1,500 years later crude iron was produced from iron ore and later steel was produced from crude iron. With the invention of the blast furnace in the mid-1800s, steel could be produced in large volumes. Super strong, heat resistant and malleable, steel rollers could then roll red-hot billets of steel into sheets of steel for easy manufacturing of parts, thus again revolutionizing civilization. Without steel the Industrial Revolution would not exist. All engines: electrical, gas, diesel, steam and jet depend on steel. All forms of transportation, land, sea, rail and air, depend on steel. All of agriculture depends on steel. Did I mention electricity? The mining of a host of different minerals and a combination thereof, such as aluminum and titanium, is literally the foundation of modern civilization. It’s that important. I might add, mining should be managed and regulated, not eliminated. As a state, Alaska has a good record and reputation for doing just that.

Dave Werner


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