The public loses acres of land that was intended to be a watershed to provide clean and plentiful water--plus they have to pay tax dollars to clean up old abandoned mines sites.
The Environmental Protection Agency estimates that billions of dollars are needed to protect Western drinking water supplies from mine waste, and that cleaning up the estimated half a million abandoned mines across the country may cost $35 billion or more (EPA 2000).
Current: ASARCO Bankruptcy should have been a wake up call.... but nothing has changed.
Mother Earth's loss = Thousands of acres have been scarred forever.
Sustainable mining does not exist. Mining creates scars in the earth that will never heal. The best we can do—considering today’s technology—is chose very carefully the places that will be mined, for they will be sacrificed for our voracious appetite for metals.
Federal Court Decisions protecting water from mining operations: