The Gold Bubble hasn't burst yet, and it already is causing misery and destruction. A 2/11/11 Alternet article talks about the environmentally destructive nature of gold mining and processing.
Thinking of giving your sweetheart gold jewelry for Valentine's Day? You might want to first know what goes into making it. Extracting enough gold for one ring takes an average of two pounds of cyanide (a teaspoon will kill you). Processing the gold in one ring uses over 1,400 gallons of water, enough to meet the daily needs of 100 people. Left behind is a toxic sludge containing heavy metals, cyanide compounds, and arsenic. Each gold ring produces an average of 20 tons of waste - millions of tons over the life of a mine.
This article focuses on gold for jewelry, apparently because that is the consumer behavior that Alternet's readers are most likely to change. However, the largest cause of increased gold mining is the rapidly and ridiculously escalating gold prices on speculative markets. Every time someone tries to con people into believing that a highly volatile commodity like gold is a "safe haven," gold mining increases. Even worse, as gold gets more difficult to find, the environmental destruction per unit of gold increases because the gold gets more difficult to extract.
Since gold jewelry is the way that the average person speculates in gold, I suppose it is worth mentioning.
This gold fever also creates enormous human misery.
Producing gold can also come at great human cost. Mines are often imposed on communities that don't want them, and cause communities to lose their lands and livelihoods. Human costs also include the use of child labor in mines in Mali, dangerous conditions in mines in Ghana, and armed violence and human rights violations that have been linked to gold mines in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Last year, I complained about the Gold Bubble and the inevitable gold crash just waiting to happen.
I'm sorry, but gold is not worth anywhere near $1200 per ounce.
Yet, despite a drop on Friday, gold was trading at the astronomical level of $1194. This is just plain crazy.
Today, gold traded at $1,372.50 per ounce in New York.
The gold bubble isn't just financial idiocy, it is destructive and dehumanizing.
Sigh. Remember how, in 2005, people warning about the Housing Bubble were treated like paranoid idiots? People never seem to learn.
Second Photo: SanFranAnnie