Category: Sulfide Mining

Mining Activity – November 2013

By , November 23, 2013

IMG_0686Non-renewable resources are limited. When it’s gone it’s gone. To better understand what a non-renewable resource is students “mined” a chocolate-chip cookie.

On an bird’s eye view picture of a landscape filled with trees, lakes, animals and plants (a mining area grid) students traced their cookie. With a toothpick  students “mined” the chocolate chips from the cookie. Students also outlined the area of the “crumbs”.

The goal was to extract the chips, not keep the cookie en tact. The strategies included: jamming the tooth pick into the cookie, crushing the cookies, chip broke, the tooth pick broke. Extracted chip totaled over 25/cookie.

Re claim the land using only the toothpick. Move chocolate chips and “cookie” back into the original circle of the cookie prior to “mining”. Do we think mining companies struggle with the same problem?

Discussion concerning the practices of mining and the financial gain to be made by the mining company vs. the affect on the landscape, water quality, plants and animals.

IMG_0682IMG_0673Reflection writing:

What was my original goal when I started mining the cookie? What difficulties did I have while mining my cookie?

If I were to mine another cookie what would my new goal be and why?

How is your experience similar or different than the goals and difficulties of reclaiming operations?

Give an example of a time you had to make a choice. What did you choose to do and what was the opportunity cost of that choice?



Water Quality

By , August 26, 2012

Miner’s Lake outside Ely. Sulfide level 21

Lake Superior south shore. Sulfide level 0

Wherever we traveled students took water samples to track the health of the water. Based on our continued study of the St. Louis River watershed through River Watch activities. Tests were conducted to determine dissolved oxygen, pH, nitrates, phosphates, and biochemical oxygen demand.

Miner’s Lake when it was an active mine supplied  WWI  and WWII with iron ore. Currently the pit is about 140 feet deep. Water naturally filled the hole in once the mining was done. Today it is a great fishing lake.


niibin 2012 – Bad River to Bois Forte

By , August 26, 2012

Students visited Great Lakes Fish and Wildlife Commission (GLIFWC- Odanah, WI) to learn more about Ojibwe language and culture, current tribal management of the water and land uses and reacquaint and reestablish ourselves as needed concerning our treaty rights as Indian people to hunt and gather.


It was a week of connecting what we know about the areas in Minnesota, North and South Dakota, Wisconsin and Michigan where Ojibwe people have lived for generations. We added to our knowledge by traveling southeast to the Bad River Reservation in Odanah, WI and as far north as the Bois Forte Reservation in northern Minnesota. Between the bus rides students studied the geology of the land, collected water samples for testing, swam in lakes, read books, wrote reflections/took notes and enjoyed each other as family and friends.

At the Bois Forte Museum students walked through displays describing  the history of the Ojibwe people traveling east to the place where the wild rice grew. Government boarding schools and traditional life clashed bringing with it continued years of struggle for generations to follow. Loss of language and culture, family groups broken and a lack of understanding between peoples concerning land and water use contributed to our current state and the established reservation system of government. Elders spoke about what we have been through and encouraged the young people to become knowledgeable to carry on.

“Indians lives in family groups and villages. We were not identified by a particular place and never imagined that land could belong to individuals. When the settlers arrived the government gave us names according to where our villages happened to be. They put us on reservations, forbade out traditions and ignored our reverence for the land.

I like to describe the Ojibwe and Fur Trade partnership as an  “economic cooperation”. Indians became part of the newly created global industrial  economy as producers, consumers, and traders. They were participants in that world even before many Europeans.” 
~Carl Gawboy, Bois Forte Band of Ojibwe

Panorama Theme by Themocracy