See all the copper from a mine in one giant ball  

Posted by Big Gav

New Scientist has a post on some interesting images from Dillon Marsh showing how much copper was extracted from various mine sites - See all the copper from a mine in one giant ball.

IT'S not an alien invasion or a scene from Doctor Who. For over a hundred years, the West O'okiep Mine in South Africa yielded large amounts of copper. This eerie image, created nearly half a century after it closed, represents the copper extracted throughout the mine's lifetime – all 284,000 tonnes of it.

"South Africa has great mineral wealth, but this has come at a cost to the environment," says photographer Dillon Marsh. "Air and water pollution, acid mine drainage, toxic waste and abandoned, non-rehabilitated mines continue to be detrimental to the environment."

To visualise this, Marsh photographed South African copper mines that had been mined out and abandoned, creating a series called For What It's Worth. Using estimates of each mine's historical output, he calculated the size of an equivalent sphere of pure copper. Marsh then used a combination of Google Earth, a 3D rendering program and Photoshop to plant each sphere at its corresponding mine, complete with accurate reflections of the surroundings on its surface.

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