Camels get a certain evil look in thier eyes, just before they lob a great-big, green wad of phlem at your face.
Saturday, May 19, 2007
We paid a visit to a local, small-scale gold mining/processing operation. Locals work small open pits in various parts of the southern Gobi, mining gold-rich (poor?) quartz veins. They truck their ore to a primitive diesel-powered mill like the one pictured above. To extract the gold, they use mercury. The waste rock, replete with visible beads of mercury, just gets dumped-out onto the desert. In this case, the dump site is about 2 km away from an oasis with an artesian spring. Not good…
The open-pits themselves are very dangerous; one girl in our camp lost her brother last year working at one of these sites.
Some industries like farming, tourism, small-scale manufacturing etc…should be encouraged at a local-level. Mining is not one of them. If you want to protect the environment, leave mining to large corporations which can (in theory) be held accountable for the land they use and the people they employ.
Wednesday, May 16, 2007
One of our guys started coughing-up blood, so we sent him to a nearby clinic. They suspected tuberculosis based on his symptoms. He was immediately shipped-off to UB for tests. Myself and about six other people in camp also had coughs, sore throats etc.. It was a tense 48 hours as we waited for the results. Everyone with a cough had to wear a face mask and no one was allowed to leave. The tests came back negative today, no TB just a bad chest-cold. I have never been so happy to have a cold before….