This is a really good and important piece - Marty Snyder

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Corruption of the so-called "government" is the problem. The risk to reputable mining companies is such that they will not invest. Therefore, the greed of the corrupt make money off the backs of the poor. I know, I went to the Congo 4 times in the 2000's to evaluate resources there. each time the investment was rejected by the board bc of the risk. Have a look at South Africa to understand the problem of corruption and greed of the continents "leaders."

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I have a hard time following Siddharth Kara‘s work. It’s not that it’s bad, it’s that he covers such dark topics. Not for the faint of heart. His writing is also off the charts. It’s unfortunate someone with those skills has to use it for non-fiction writing.

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I agree that the cobalt mining in the Congo is done by subhuman standards, if it is possible to extract the cobalt with preindustrial mean, what is blocking modern mining methods? The phenomenal increase in productivity from mechanized labour can’t be denied yet in isn’t happen.

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Great post.

As a chemist, I worked at Cytec Industries Mining Chemicals Division synthesizing and testing metal extraction chemistries; and later on in mining wastewater remediation at another firm.

The scale of the inefficiencies and consumption of resources is staggering, and just to produce a gold wedding band, let alone an EV battery.

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Oh yeah, gold’s another one. Unless you get really lucky and find an actual nugget, getting enough gold out of a vein to make something whether it’s a ring or a bullion coin is quite the endeavor.

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A Chemist’s Simple Teaching Primer on Energy (regarding mining metals)

Energy is not free, it has to come from somewhere, preferably a source that is highly concentrated for efficient use. Examples of such a source are now vilified hydrocarbons and nuclear energy.

The first law of thermodynamics, also known as Law of Conservation of Energy, states that energy cannot be created or destroyed in an isolated system. This means the energy you put in must come out. We lose alot as heat and frictional loses and voltage drops.

The second law of thermodynamics states that the entropy of any isolated system always increases. That means things in our world tend towards disorder. We burn fuel to release it’s energy to order everything in our world. Challenge: name one thing in our modern world that is not touched by fossil fuels or some form of energy.

The mining industry producing all those metals and batteries for modern life (and all industries for that matter) are beholden to the Law’s of Thermodynamics, in particular the Second Law and Gibb’s Free Energy (is a process spontaneous or not).

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“Challenge: name one thing in our modern world that is not touched by fossil fuels or some form of energy.”

Nothing. I challenge greenies with this all the time and no one ever except it : “if you are so opposed to fossil fuels go just one week without using anything that depended on them to include manufacturing, transportation and storage”. I would think if fossil fuels were so evil surely someone would accept the challenge. Oh well.

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Feb 25, 2023·edited Feb 25, 2023

Thanks Jeff- taking it further:

We are dependent on fossil fuels from conception to death and beyond.

At conception, the parents are supported by fossil fuels in their lives, and thus the energy from oxidized carbon creates the cells that lead to conception

After death, if we leave an estate that requires maintenance or other activities and artifacts; those things require fossil fuel . Ex. a person leaves a house or a car to decendants.

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Yup. What powered the lights and medical equipment in the hospital room we were born in? The emergency room that saved a loved one? Fossil fuel. What powers the ambulance and fire trucks that save lives? Fossil fuel. In the U.S. how many of out ancestors met only because their families crossed the oceans on fossil fuel powered ships? How many of us would be alive today had they not met? How many people would have died in climate disasters if not for fossil fuel powered equipment? The list of the benefits is very very long. Sad that so many want to ignore it.

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The other good one is plants in the garden. Well, how did they get there?

Likely grown in a nursery and/or transported by vehicle.


Unless a bird took a dump and it is a volunteer plant?!

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Brilliant, Robert.

We both gave Siddharth some help exposing this today. Channeling Brandeis: “sunlight is said to be the best of disinfectants”.

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