Eagles Attack And Destroy Nine Mining Giant’s Drones

Wedge-tailed eagles do battle with mining giant’s drones, knocking nine out of sky. Eagles and drones have been battling for the skies above Western Australia.

Currently it’s the birds of prey that are winning after taking out nine of the unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV).

The Trimble UX5 drones belong to mining company Gold Fields, which has been using them to survey St Ives since 2014.

The wedge-tailed eagle has a two metre wingspan and is a protected species.

Ten UAVs have been lost since South Africa’s Gold Fields, the world’s seventh-biggest gold producer, began operating the Trimble UX5 systems at its St Ives operations near Kambalda.

One crashed as a result of human error, while nine have been taken down by wedge-tailed eagles, which are known to have wingspans more than twice that of the 1-metre-wide UAVs.

The UAVs are constructed from foam and carbon fibre, and fly at an altitude of about 125 metres, reaching speeds of up to 92km/h.

Photo: This photo was taken by an eagle that had hold of a UAV as another eagle was coming in to attack. Credit: Rick Steven


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Window on Eurasia: Ussuri Activist, Now in US Exile, Recalls First Real Elections in His Home Region in 1987

Paul Goble

Staunton, November 8 — It is easy to forget if one lives in a country where voting in multiple candidate elections have taken place for decades or even centuries how new that idea is in the Russian Federation where the first genuinely competitive voting took place less than 35 years ago in 1987.

That makes the latest recollections of Pavel Sulyandziga, an ethnic activist from Russia’s Far East and North who now lives in exile in the United States, about those first competitive elections in living memory there especially valuable as an indication of just how steep a learning curve people there must go through (indigenous-russia.com/archives/8853).

Sulandziga, an Udygey, became a mathematics teacher there after graduating from a teacher training school and in 1985, he recalls, he was named “the best young teacher of Primorsky Kray,” a distinction that gave him a chance to visit Moscow for the first time to take part in the First Congress of the Best Young Teachers of the Soviet Union.”

Because of his work with the pupils, his authority rose and many of his charges began to come to him with various issues concerning not only education and culture but the injustices experienced by Udygeys who were seeing their primordial lands taken over and exploited by outsiders.

Convinced that if there was a problem, it should be addressed, he turned to the local party leadership which basically told him to stop raising such issues because the party knows best. Had it told him that it would take up these issues, he would have been delighted, but that didn’t happen and set the stage for what has taken place since.

As a communist and a deputy in the village soviet, Sulandziga together with the secretary of the local Komsomol organization, an outsider who was assigned his first job there after graduation, organized a Komsomol conference and nominated their own candidates for the rural soviet to run against the communist slate.

The party demanded they retract their list and the KGB then gave his partner 24 hours to leave the region. But because there was no place they could send Sulandziga, they began to put about stories he was an alcoholic, abused his students and cursed their parents. The powers tried to expel him from the CPSU but couldn’t easily because he had been named best young teacher.

In the end, he was given a strict warning which was entered in his party card and would have precluded any further advancement had the communist system continued. But the elections happened, he and his slate won the first competitive elections, and four years later, the Soviet Union was no more.

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Navajo Teen Harnesses Solar Energy, Wins An Award

New Mexico teen Raquel Redshirt uses everyday materials and the sun to build solar ovens, fulfilling a Navajo community need and winning an award at the Intel ISEF competition.

Growing up on New Mexico’s Navajo Nation, Raquel Redshirt was well aware of the needs of her community. Many of her impoverished neighbors lacked basics such as electricity, as well as stoves and ovens to cook food.

Though resources in the high desert are limited, Raquel realized one was inexhaustible: the sun. “That’s where I got the idea of building a solar oven,” the teen says.

She researched solar ovens and found that most incorporate mirrors or other expensive materials. Raquel wanted to create a design that anyone could easily afford and replicate, using readily available materials.

She built and tested ovens made of old tires, cardboard, aluminum foil, tape, and insulating materials, including shredded paper and plain old dirt.

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Canada’s 1st Indigenous coast guard auxiliary has launched in B.C.

Indigenous members bring extensive knowledge of their territorial waters, says auxiliary director

First Nations along B.C.’s West Coast have a long history of responding to emergencies in the Pacific.

Now, more than four years since it was announced, the Indigenous Canadian Coast Guard Auxiliary has fully launched in B.C. — already having completed a number of missions.

The auxiliary consists of 50 volunteer members from five First Nations along B.C.’s coast — the Ahousat, the Heiltsuk, the Gitxaala, the Nisgaa and the Kitasoo.

Tuesday evening, the auxiliary was dispatched to a call in Bella Bella, where someone was in the water. The mission was a success.

“Luckily, the person was found safe and sound,” said Conrad Cowan, the executive director of the auxiliary.

“Here we are, right into the fray already.”

Cowan says the auxiliary will now work in tandem with the Canadian Coast Guard, responding to remote areas that would take the Coast Guard a long time to attend.

As well, he says the Indigenous mariners who have now joined the auxiliary have a wealth of knowledge of their territorial waters.

Coastal Nations Coast Guard Auxiliary
The Coastal Nations Coast Guard Auxiliary performs a night rescue along B.C.’s West Coast. (Photo by Andrew Szeto)

Cowan admits, even with his extensive background as a Search and Rescue technician with the military, sometimes his skills don’t compare, especially when it comes to navigating the waters and whirlpools along the coast.

“They are extremely accomplished,” he said, speaking with All Points West host Kathryn Marlow. “They’ve been doing this for a very long time. They know the waters.”

And as the man in charge, Cowan has no complaints.

“It really does make my job easy, doesn’t it? I just have to keep the lights on and get the equipment to them.”

The volunteer members have also been provided with proper training, equipment and certification for their community boats. He says brand new Search and Rescue boats are also being built thanks to government grants.

And, fortunately for those travelling up and down the coast, Cowan believes this is only the beginning for the auxiliary, which he hopes to one day expand to other First Nations.

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Chief Darcy Bear appointed to Order of Canada

Chief Darcy Bear has been appointed to the Order of Canada. 

He is one of the 114 appointments announced by the governor general on Friday.

Bear is being recognized for his “visionary leadership of the Whitecap Dakota First Nation, and for creating economic and social development opportunities for his community.”

He was reelected as chief for an eighth consecutive term in 2016. Whitecap is located 26 kilometres south of Saskatoon. 

Some of the economic development projects that have taken place under Bear’s tenure include the development of the Dakota Dunes Casino, the Dakota Dunes Golf Links and the ongoing development of a light industrial park. 

As chief, he has also overseen the construction of a new elementary school and expanded public infrastructure, and brought in high speed internet and new housing for Whitecap. 

Bear is also a member of the Saskatchewan Order of Merit and won the 2016 Aboriginal Business Hall of Fame Lifetime Achievement Award.

The latest Order of Canada list also includes Alfred Slinkard, from Saskatoon. He is being recognized with an honorary appointment for his research in agronomy. He developed two cultivars of lentils that the government says transformed agriculture in western Canada and now feed thousands of people.

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Russia’s technical agency says melting permafrost did not cause summer oil spill in Arctic

Russia’s technical oversight agency has said that last summer’s massive spill of diesel fuel into the waters of northern Siberia, which was widely blamed on melting permafrost, was instead caused by a poorly maintained reservoir riddled with technical faults.

The reservoir, owned by a subsidiary of the giant Norilsk Nickel, gave way on May 29, spilling 150,000 barrels – or 20,000 tons – of fuel, sullying the Ambarnaya River near the city of Norilsk and constituting one of the worst industrial accidents ever to take place in the Arctic environment.

Vladimir Putin declared a state of emergency and Russia’s Prosecutor General’s Office launched a wide-reaching investigation of industrial sites located in Russia’s sprawling permafrost environment to check for weaknesses due to melting. At the time, Norilsk Nickel’s chief executive, Vladimir Potanin, suggested that thawing tundra was the most likely culprit in the spill.

But the report released this week by Rostekhnadzor cited faulty construction of the collapsed tank and the poor maintenance practices followed by its owner, the Norilsk-Taimyr Energy Company, or NTEK, run by Norilsk Nickel.

Primary in Rostekhnadzor’s conclusions was that foundations under pilings holding up the reservoir weren’t strong enough to support the fuel tank. The agency also blamed NTEK for not performing required maintenance. Rostekhnadzor based its findings on interviews with employees, technical documentation and numerous visits to the site of the accident, the agency’s report said.

Rostekhnadzor’s findings are in line with what many Russian environmentalists had suspected in the aftermath of the accident. Speaking in June during a Bellona-hosted live-stream discussion on Instagram, Alexei Knizhnikov of the Russian branch of the World Wildlife Fund, said the condition of the ruptured tank made the accident predictable.

“This accident could have been prevented,” he said. “The cause of the accident was a completely outdated tank, which is not even visually monitored by environmental safety systems”

Indeed, an investigation by Novaya Gazeta, a respected independent newspaper in Russia, found that the poor state of the tank had been known to officials at Norilsk Nickel as far back as 2016, when the company considered replacing them.

Still, environmentalists and many in the Russian government agree that thawing tundra caused by dramatic temperature rises in the Arctic region poses major threats to extensive Russian infrastructure. Last year, the Arctic experienced its warmest winter on record.  That was followed in April and May by a heat wave, with May seeing temperatures between 3 degrees Celsius and 6 degrees Celsius above average since January. More recently, vast portions of Arctic oceans that usually freeze over by this time of year have not.

Meanwhile, some 65 percent of Russia’s landmass is covered by a pack of soil and ice that, until recently, has remained permanently frozen. According to Rosgidromet, Russia’s federal weather service, these spiking temperatures are causing permafrost to thaw in certain areas, a trend the agency says puts some $300 billion worth of buildings and infrastructure at risk.

Among that infrastructure are more than 75,000 kilometers of oil pipelines stitched across Siberia, which the agency said could become vulnerable to ruptures as the frozen soil beneath them begins to retreat.

Also included are entire industrial mining, gas and oil centers – as well as the highways and railways that lead to them and towns that have sprung up around them. In Norilsk alone, said the agency, permafrost has retreated by 22 percent.

The newly unstable ground is already taking its toll. Over the past 10 years, said the report, more buildings in Norilsk have collapsed because of subsidence than in the previous half century.

Arctic melt only contributes to climate change. As permafrost thaws, it releases vast stores of carbon dioxide – the gas most responsible for global warming – which drives up temperatures even more.

According to the Arctic Report Card 2019, a study conducted by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration in the United States, the permafrost environments of Siberia, Alaska, Greenland and Canada are thought to contain as much as 1,460 to 1,600 billion metric tons of organic carbon, which converts to carbon dioxide as it thaws.

The report states that, because of this melting process, the Arctic is now contributing some 1.1 billion to 2.2 billion metric tons of carbon dioxide annually to the world’s atmosphere. That’s equal to the yearly carbon contribution of countries like Japan, on the lower end, and to Russia itself, on the higher end.

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Harmful algae bloom behind mass die off of marine animals in Russia’s Far East, scientists say

Scientists have determined that a mysterious die-off of marine animals off the coast of Kamchatka in Russia’s Far East earlier this month was caused by a harmful algae bloom, officially laying to rest theories that a manmade chemical spill was to blame, Russian media have reported.

The comments, reported in RBC and other wire services, come from Andrei Adiyanov, vice president of the Russian Academy of Sciences, who said that thousands of water samples pointed to toxins from a particular single-celled organism called a dinoflagellate.

“We can say that the mass death of benthic aquatic organisms occurred as a result of exposure to toxins from a complex of species of the genus Karenia, a representative of dinoflagellates,” he was quoted as saying.

The announcement comes after weeks of uncertainty during which masses of dead sea creatures washed up on local beaches, driven by a foul smelling and murky tide. The grizzly finds, first reported by surfers Kamchatka, seven time zones to Moscow’s east, exploded across social media platforms as local residents documented their discoveries and demanded accountability.

Early investigations by environmentalists cited high petroleum levels and other pollutants in the water. Local officials also suspected the mass animal die off might be tied to leaks of highly toxic rocket fuel, which is bunkered at a number of Far Eastern military facilities, often in shabby conditions.

The new findings from the Russian Academy of Sciences, however, dismisses those theories, after scientists with the organization observed large appearances of phytoplankton, some several hundred kilometers wide, massing off Kamchatka’s coast.

According to Mikhail Kirpichnikov, head of Moscow State University’s department of bioengineering, and a member of the academy, groupings of plankton were observed drifting northward toward Chukotka before shifting direction to the south to the shores of Kamchatka. It was these microscopic organisms that fed the harmful algae bloom, he said.

Harmful algae blooms occur when colonies of algae— which are simple plants that live in the sea and freshwater — grow out of control, pro ducing toxic or harmful effects on people, fish, shellfish, marine mammals, and birds.

While there are many factors that may contribute to these blooms, how these factors come together to create a bloom of algae is not well understood. Studies indicate that many algal species flourish when water circulation is low and water temperatures are high.

The blooms can last from a few days to many months. After a bloom dies, the microbes which decompose the dead algae use up more oxygen, which can lead to die offs of fish and other marine organisms. When these zones of depleted oxygen cover a large area for an extended period of time, they are referred to as dead zones, where neither fish nor plants are able to survive.

Harmful algae blooms have been increasing in size and frequency worldwide, a factor that many scientists attribute to climate change.

Should this be the case, then the mass marine die off that has gripped Kamchatka since late September is only the latest disaster Russia can attribute to warming global temperatures. n May, near the northern Siberian city of Norilsk, a fuel tank resting on thawing permafrost collapsed, spilling 20,000 of diesel oil into area waterways and causing a local river to run crimson.

Svetlana Radionova, a representative of the Kamchatka division of Rosprirodnazor, Russia’s environmental oversight agency, also cast doubt on pollutants being the cause of the mass sea animal die off.

To date, we have conducted almost five thousand studies, taken hundreds of samples, and all these studies indicate that we do not see a pronounced man-made impact on the habitat of aquatic organisms,” she said, according to Russian media.

Alexei Ozerov, director of the Institute of Volcanology and Seismology at the Far East Branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences, said studies on the harmful algae bloom will continue.

“Next, one of the main tasks is to conduct sea expeditions and figure out what can bring these algae into such an active state that we have these blooms,” he said.

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How far can President-elect Joe Biden go to salvage US climate efforts?

Joe Biden, the projected winner of the US presidency, plans to restore dozens of environmental rollbacks enacted by the administration of Donald Trump and launch  the most ambitious climate agenda ever forwarded by an American president. Though his most progressive policies will face pushback from Senate Republicans and conservative attorney’s general, the White House, with Biden in charge, plans to make a complete turnaround on US climate policy.

As early as Saturday afternoon, after major television networks called the presidential contest for Biden, the president-elect’s transition team posted its climate strategy online, pledging on “day one” to re-enter the Paris climate accord – from which the Trump administration formally withdrew on Wednesday, the day after the election.

The efforts will include restricting oil and gas drilling on public lands and waters; jacking up federal mileage standards for cars and trucks; blocking fossil fuel pipelines across the country; providing federal incentives for renewable power development; and urging other nations to cut their own carbon emissions.

In a victory speech Saturday night, Biden identified climate change as one of his top priorities as president, saying Americans must marshal the “forces of science” in the “battle to save our planet.”

The Biden climate plan looks to eliminate carbon emissions from the electric sector by 2035 and to spend nearly $2 trillion in investments ranging from weatherizing homes to building a robust electric car charging infrastructure throughout the country.

Nevertheless, the new administration will be starting out on the back foot. The US is the world’s biggest economy and second biggest emitter of greenhouse gases, but Trump Administration reversed measures taken by Barack Obama to reduce those emissions and rejected the Paris Agreement, which binds nations to hold global heating to well below 2C, with an aspiration to limit temperature rises to 1.5C.

Runoff races in Georgia scheduled for January will determine whether the US Senate will be receptive to a climate friendly legislative agenda. Should Democratic challengers in those elections fail, Biden may have to rely on a combination of executive actions and more-modest congressional deals to sidestep Republican opposition. His room to maneuver could be hamstrung further by a conservative majority on the US Supreme Court when his plans meet the inevitable legal challenges.

Voters want climate action

But smart climate policy may not be as hard to sell as it was when Trump took office in 2017. US Voters have begun to experience the effects of climate change firsthand and polls take over the summer show that two-thirds of Americans – including a majority of Republicans — say they want the government to do more on climate change. Since then, record-setting wildfires and droughts have ravaged the West Coast while states from Texas to Florida are reeling from a hyperactive hurricane season that has yet to end.

And in an economy reeling from the effects of the global coronavirus pandemic, Biden has argued that curbing carbon emissions will create high-paying jobs.

Achieving much of this in when political divisions still run hot will be difficult – but not impossible – without Senate approval. Environmental groups in the US have published extensive lists of which policy moves Biden can make as soon as inauguration day –  all without having to wrangle congressional support.

Unwinding Trump Rollbacks

Among those actions is wielding the extensive powers of executive orders – a power Trump used to enact many of his environmental rollbacks. The Sabin Center for Climate Change Law at Columbia Law School in New York tracked 159 Trump-era actions that cut back on environmental protections or promote the use of fossil fuels or both. In August, the center published a blueprint on how to unwind those changes under a Democratic administration.

Aside from rejoining the Paris accord – which requires the US to submit new commitments for reducing the nation’s emissions ­– Biden can quickly issue executive orders that would reverse a slew of Trump rollbacks. For instance, Biden can reverse Trump’s much-heralded “America First” energy strategy aimed at opening United States coastal waters to oil and gas drilling. He can also reverse Trump’s reversal of an Obama policy that directed federal agencies to cut their own greenhouse gas emissions by 40 percent.

Further, he can also instruct his own Environmental Protection Agency – now in the hands of fossil fuel lobbyists appointed by Trump ­– to develop a more ambitious version of Obama’s Clean Power Plan for the electricity sector to further his goal of hitting net-zero emissions by 2035. He can also compel the Department of Transportation to develop, as his climate plan promises, “rigorous new fuel economy standards aimed at ensuring 100% of new sales for light- and medium-duty vehicles will be electrified.”

On top of all that, a crucial structural move Biden can make without congress is using the Dodd-Frank financial reform legislation to ensure that the Federal Reserve – and the financial system more broadly – takes climate risk into account and channels investment away from carbon-intensive projects.

Most importantly, the Biden administration can reassure the world that the United States is back to taking climate change seriously. As president, his foreign policy powers are virtually limitless. Rejoining Paris is merely the first step.

The limits of executive power

Of course — just as Obama and then Trump have seen — executive action is subject to legal challenge, and Biden will face not just a Supreme Court, but an entire federal judiciary stacked with more conservative appointees, many of whom favor deregulation. Even if Biden’s policies survive that, they could again be reversed by a future president.

Still, Biden can make enormous progress in four years, especially if he is fearless in his use of executive actions – and those actions are likely to find support from many quarters of energy industry itself. Pressured in part by consumer demand, a number of utilities have set their own zero-carbon goals, and some oil companies vow to invest more in renewables. A growing list of major companies, along with cities and states, are also setting aggressive targets for carbon neutrality.

But after four years of the Trump administration there is much ground to make up – and nothing Biden can do can make up for lost time.

During the Trump years the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has issued increasingly urgent warnings, saying that the window to hold off the worst climate change is closing. Many researchers consider Trump’s failure to address the issue to be the greatest harm he inflicted on the environment. That presents the Biden administration with its greatest environmental challenge.

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Haaland being vetted by Biden team for Interior secretary

The Biden transition team is in the process of vetting Rep. Deb Haaland (D-N.M.) for the Interior secretary post, sources told The Hill on Tuesday.

The development came after Haaland dropped out of the three-way leadership race for House Democratic Caucus vice chairwoman.

If Haaland is tapped by President-elect Joe Biden, her nomination would be historic, making her the first Native American Cabinet secretary, where she would oversee an agency with vast responsibility over tribal issues and public lands. In 2018, she became one of the first two Native American women elected to Congress, alongside Rep. Sharice Davids (D-Kan.). 

More than half of the president-elect’s transition team is comprised of women, and nearly half of its members are people of color; Biden has also vowed that his new Cabinet and administration will be very diverse and “look like America.”

Haaland, the former chairwoman of the New Mexico Democratic Party who just won reelection to the House, did not respond directly when asked why she suddenly dropped out of this week’s leadership race.

“We have an opportunity to unify our caucus, plan for the future, and support working families while we’re facing the challenges that have come from an administration who didn’t take this pandemic seriously,” Haaland said in a statement.

“I’ve deeply appreciated this process — discussing priorities, getting to better know my colleagues, and their districts and issues, and also answering questions about Indian Country. I look forward to continuing these conversations with a united caucus, laser-focused on healing and rebuilding our country,” she added.

Haaland, 59, has previously expressed interest in the role. In an interview with HuffPost last week, Haaland said “of course” she was interested in leading the Interior Department.

The Biden transition team did not immediately respond to a request for comment, and it is not clear if it is also vetting other candidates. Other names being considered to lead the Interior Department include retiring Sen. Tom Udall (D-N.M.), whose father was Interior secretary in the 1960s, and Sen. Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.).

The vetting process includes a review of personal, financial and medical information, one source said, helping the Biden team spot any red flags. 

Udall’s office suggested he is still being weighed for the role but did not say whether he is also being vetted.

“Deb Haaland is a close personal friend and I’ve been proud to work with her in Congress and long before that. Senator Heinrich has been an incredible partner and friend in the Senate for the past eight years. Like so many New Mexicans, I’m excited about the vision of the incoming Biden-Harris administration and I am honored to be considered for an opportunity to continue my public service,” Udall said in a statement to The Hill. 

Haaland, who chairs the House Natural Resources subcommittee that oversees national parks, forests, and public lands, got a nod Monday from full committee Chairman Raúl Grijalva (D-Ariz.), who had been endorsed for the Interior role by the Congressional Hispanic Caucus (CHC). Grijalva, a progressive leader, backed Haaland while asking fellow CHC members to do the same. 

“It is well past time that an Indigenous person brings history full circle at the Department of Interior. As her colleague on the Natural Resources Committee, I have seen first-hand the passion and dedication she puts into these issues at the forefront of the Interior Department from tackling the epidemic of missing and murdered Indigenous women to crafting thoughtful solutions to combating the climate crisis using America’s public lands,” Grijalva wrote in the letter obtained by The Hill. 

“It should go without saying, Rep. Haaland is absolutely qualified to do the job,” he added.

Biden this week began naming top staffers who will serve in the White House, including chief of staff Ron Klain and Rep. Cedric Richmond (D-La.), the Biden campaign’s national co-chairman, who will serve as a senior adviser to the 46th president and the director of the White House Office of Public Engagement.

Biden has yet to name any Cabinet members, though he could make some of those picks before Thanksgiving.

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The scarred landscapes created by humanity’s material thirst

The world’s desire for electronics, fuel and geological riches is etched in devastating shapes and colours all over the globe. In the latest of BBC Future’s Anthropo-Scene series, we show the striking ways that mining has rewritten the surface of the Earth.W

When we dig to extract a precious metal, a carboniferous fuel, or an ancient ore, we remove a chapter of another time. Such materials are, in the words of the writer Astra Taylor, the “past condensed”, telling of epic eras of magmatic fury, tropical forests or hydrothermal steam. They take millions of years to settle or crystallise, then only moments to remove with machinery and explosive.

Ever since humans first realised that the ground beneath them held hidden riches, we have dug down to discover what lies beneath. Mining makes almost every aspect of our modern lives possible, and often the effects on the natural world are far, far away from home. 

When you see the impact of a mine visually, it can subtly change how you think about your possessions. Even these words are delivered via geological materials – behind this screen, enmeshed in electronics, there are metals that were once locked for millennia within rock. And somewhere in the world right now, our desire for more and more this technology is fuelling ever-deeper and broader subterranean searches for those resources.

Below, we look at the myriad ways that mining has transformed the surface of the Earth – whether it’s the striking, unnatural hues of “tailings ponds” or the open-cast landscapes that look like the fingerprints of humanity itself. If the ancient ores and minerals we covet are the condensed past, then sadly what is in store is a scarred future.

Welcome to “Anthropo-Scene”, a new BBC Future series. By looking through a lens at far-flung places around the world, our goal is to compile a definitive photographic record of how humanity is reshaping our planet and nature.One of the largest mining pits in the world, with 84 types of minerals, is the 'No.3 pegmatite’ in Xinjiang, China (Credit: Shen Longquan/ Getty Images)

One of the largest mining pits in the world, with 84 types of minerals, is the ‘No.3 pegmatite’ in Xinjiang, China (Credit: Shen Longquan/ Getty Images)China’s Emerald Lake, in the Qinghai province, is an abandoned mining zone (Credit: Getty Images)

China’s Emerald Lake, in the Qinghai province, is an abandoned mining zone (Credit: Getty Images)There, historic mining left behind salt and other minerals in giant ponds with a greenish hue (Credit: Getty Images)

There, historic mining left behind salt and other minerals in giant ponds with a greenish hue (Credit: Getty Images)Oxidised iron minerals in the Rio Tinto mining area of Huelva province in Spain (Credit: Peter Adams/Getty Images)

Oxidised iron minerals in the Rio Tinto mining area of Huelva province in Spain (Credit: Peter Adams/Getty Images)Mixed with water, the iron minerals spread like watercolour paint across the landscape (Credit: Peter Adams/Getty Images)

Mixed with water, the iron minerals spread like watercolour paint across the landscape (Credit: Peter Adams/Getty Images)When the minerals meet air, they redden, and then darken as they collect in deeper waters (Credit: Peter Adams/Getty Images)

When the minerals meet air, they redden, and then darken as they collect in deeper waters (Credit: Peter Adams/Getty Images)The Carajas Mine in Brazil, one of the largest iron ore mines on the planet (Credit: Getty Images)

The Carajas Mine in Brazil, one of the largest iron ore mines on the planet (Credit: Getty Images)Like the whorl of a giant fingerprint: Bingham Canyon Mine, also known as the Kennecott Copper Mine, Utah (Credit: Getty Images)

Like the whorl of a giant fingerprint: Bingham Canyon Mine, also known as the Kennecott Copper Mine, Utah (Credit: Getty Images)The Los Filos gold mine in Guerrero State, Mexico (Credit: Ronaldo Schemidt/Getty Images)

The Los Filos gold mine in Guerrero State, Mexico (Credit: Ronaldo Schemidt/Getty Images)In the Brazilian Amazon, the Esperanca IV informal gold mining camp, near the Menkragnoti indigenous territory
Credit: Joao Laet/Getty Images)

In the Brazilian Amazon, the Esperanca IV informal gold mining camp, near the Menkragnoti indigenous territory Credit: Joao Laet/Getty Images)Elsewhere in the Amazon, in Peru, a deforested area caused by illegal gold mining in the river basin of the Madre de Dios (Credit: Cris Bouroncle/Getty Images)

Elsewhere in the Amazon, in Peru, a deforested area caused by illegal gold mining in the river basin of the Madre de Dios (Credit: Cris Bouroncle/Getty Images)A tailings pond used to store byproducts of copper mining in Rancagua, Chile (Credit: Martin Bernetti/Getty Images)

A tailings pond used to store byproducts of copper mining in Rancagua, Chile (Credit: Martin Bernetti/Getty Images)Copper is one of Chile’s main exports (Credit: Martin Bernetti/Getty Images)

Copper is one of Chile’s main exports (Credit: Martin Bernetti/Getty Images)Cracks on a parched surface surround another tailings pond there (Credit: Martin Bernetti/Getty Images)

Cracks on a parched surface surround another tailings pond there (Credit: Martin Bernetti/Getty Images)Away from the tailings, vehicle tracks weave around the Chilean copper mine (Credit: Martin Bernetti/Getty Images)

Away from the tailings, vehicle tracks weave around the Chilean copper mine (Credit: Martin Bernetti/Getty Images)Orange water fans out over the forested landscape near a disused copper-sulphide mine near the village Lyovikha in the Urals, Russia (Credit: Sergey Zamkadniy/Getty Images)

Orange water fans out over the forested landscape near a disused copper-sulphide mine near the village Lyovikha in the Urals, Russia (Credit: Sergey Zamkadniy/Getty Images)Like the surface of another planet, the abandoned Khrustalny mine in Kavalerovo, Russia, which once produced 30% of the Soviet Union’s tin (Credit: Yuri Smityuk/Getty Images)

Like the surface of another planet, the abandoned Khrustalny mine in Kavalerovo, Russia, which once produced 30% of the Soviet Union’s tin (Credit: Yuri Smityuk/Getty Images)The Garzweiler opencast lignite coal mine in Juechen, Germany (Credit: Ina Fassbender/Getty Images)

The Garzweiler opencast lignite coal mine in Juechen, Germany (Credit: Ina Fassbender/Getty Images)Lignite coal is a soft fossil fuel made of naturally compressed peat (Credit: Ina Fassbender/Getty Images)

Lignite coal is a soft fossil fuel made of naturally compressed peat (Credit: Ina Fassbender/Getty Images)An open coal mine reaches to the horizon near Mahagama, in the Indian state of Jharkhand (Credit: Xavier Galiana/Getty Images)

An open coal mine reaches to the horizon near Mahagama, in the Indian state of Jharkhand (Credit: Xavier Galiana/Getty Images)The Eti Mine Works in Eskisehir, Turkey, where lithium – a key component of batteries – is produced from boron sources (Credit: Ali Atmaca/Getty Images)

The Eti Mine Works in Eskisehir, Turkey, where lithium – a key component of batteries – is produced from boron sources (Credit: Ali Atmaca/Getty Images)Demand for lithium has risen as our demand for electronics and electric vehicles grows (Credit: Ali Atmaca/Getty Images)

Demand for lithium has risen as our demand for electronics and electric vehicles grows (Credit: Ali Atmaca/Getty Images)The Rossing Uranium Mine in Namibia, one of the largest open pit uranium mines in the world, in the Namib Desert (Credit: Wolfgang Kaehler/Getty Images)

The Rossing Uranium Mine in Namibia, one of the largest open pit uranium mines in the world, in the Namib Desert (Credit: Wolfgang Kaehler/Getty Images)Like a jewellery pendant, a pond at an abandoned magnesite pit near Vavdos village in the mountains of Chalkidiki, Greece (Credit: Nicolas Economou/Getty Images)

Like a jewellery pendant, a pond at an abandoned magnesite pit near Vavdos village in the mountains of Chalkidiki, Greece (Credit: Nicolas Economou/Getty Images)The snowy Mir diamond mine in Russia hints at what our descendants may discover. What will they make of these legacies of our consumption? (Credit: Alexander Ryumin/Getty Images)

The snowy Mir diamond mine in Russia hints at what our descendants may discover. What will they make of these legacies of our consumption? (Credit: Alexander Ryumin/Getty Images)

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