Tailings pond

Title Info
Source Dan L. Perlman
Human impacts Mining; Water
Date June 07, 2000
Location Butte,Montana,USA,North America

Copper mine tailings pond, Butte, Montana. What appears to be a bucolic scene is actually part of a heavily polluted landscape. The water body is not a mountain lake, but a tailings pond that holds materials brought up from mines but not worth smelting. Butte, Montana, was known as the ?richest hill on earth,? not because of gold or silver, which were there in modest amounts, but because of the vast quantities of copper. As the US and the world began to electrify in the late 19th century, copper for wires became remarkably useful and valuable and much of the landscape in and around Butte was affected by the mining. Much of the city is part of the largest Superfund hazardous waste cleanup site in the United States.