Microkhan by Brendan I. Koerner

Entries Tagged as 'mining'

A Family Affair

October 9th, 2013 · 1 Comment

The exploits of the various Indian sand mafias has long been a topic of fascination ’round these parts. As the subcontinent’s construction boom has lead to an escalation in sand prices, miners have become eager to accumulate the granular material by any means necessary. In practice, that means excavating any strip of land they wish, […]

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The Power of Gorgor

August 28th, 2012 · No Comments

A mammoth gold mine on Papua New Guinea’s Lihir Island is currently shut down due to a compensation dispute. There is, of course, nothing unusual about that situation, for conflicts between foreign mining companies and local interest are par for the course in the resources-extraction game. What makes the Lihir protest notable, however, is the […]

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End of Act One

May 4th, 2012 · 3 Comments

As you read these words today, I’ll be putting the finishing touches on my book manuscript—an 84,000-word tale of a young couple that pulled off an amazing heist many moons ago, then went roaming about the world. Tough to believe I’ve reached this point in the process; I started working on this project nearly three […]

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Plateau Bargaining

October 20th, 2011 · No Comments

The world economy isn’t only roiled by the machinations of Wall Streeters who are too clever by half; old-fashioned strikes can still upset the delicate equilibrium between prosperity and chaos. An excellent case in point is the ongoing fracas at the Freeport’s Grasberg mine in the restive Indonesian province of Papua. The operation is the […]

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Tall J Speaks

July 21st, 2011 · 4 Comments

Though Microkhan can’t claim to be the most journalistically rigorous blog on The Tubes, we do strive for a certain amount of fairness. And so we feel compelled to publish a response to last week’s post regarding the Tall J Foundation, they mysterious American mining concern that recently drew the ire of Bougainville’s president. He […]

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The New Filibusters

July 8th, 2011 · 12 Comments

When last we checked in on Bougainville’s Panguna copper mine, there was considerable talk of reopening the long-shuttered operation—much to the consternation of indigenous groups who have long fought for a more equitable distribution of the proceeds. Now comes word that a few Americans might be sticking their nose in the island’s business, thereby threatening […]

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The Curtain Drops

March 8th, 2011 · 3 Comments

Though I frequent Broadway shows about as often as I indulge in White Castle—that is, once in a blue moon—I’ll admit to taking undue pleasures in the travails of Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark. Not in the various serious injuries that the production has incurred, mind you, but rather in seeing what happens when unchecked […]

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Quicksilver’s Last Stand

March 3rd, 2011 · 5 Comments

News of the mercury thermometer’s imminent demise got me wondering about where, exactly, our quicksilver comes from these days. Much to my surprise, I discovered that there is but a single mine in the world dedicated solely to the production of mercury. It is in Khaidarkan, a village in southwestern Kyrgyzstan, where the poor soil […]

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Genteel Decline

February 18th, 2011 · 2 Comments

When I’ve looked at cases of urban decay in the past, I’ve typically focused on two types of hollowed-out human settlements: towns that were suddenly abandoned, and those that transformed from prosperous to troubled as their principal industries waned. But there’s a third model of decay to be considered, and that is one in which […]

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The Greenless Island

February 11th, 2011 · 7 Comments

Abandoned human settlements are a pet topic ’round these parts, so I couldn’t resist the urge to post about the Japanese island of Hashima (aka Gunkanjima). Entranced by this haunting collection of photos, I tracked down a primer on the coal-mining outpost’s tragic history. As is so often the case with operations designed to pillage […]

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Hard Times

December 9th, 2010 · 5 Comments

Not to tease too much, but I’m getting really excited ’bout this secret project I’m wrapping up. Details to come shortly, I promise—all should be public right after the New Year, if not a little sooner. In the meantime, though, I can only hint at the nature of the yarn: It involves a son of […]

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“Untouched by Time’s Dark Captains”

January 6th, 2010 · 3 Comments

In the midst of prepping a forthcoming post on urban population trends, we randomly stumbled across this 1959 video from the Bureau of Mines, in which asbestos gets its praises sung by an amazingly eloquent narrator. Historical curios such as this can only make us wonder which of today’s miracle products will eventually be revealed […]

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Nukes for Shale

October 21st, 2009 · 13 Comments

The controversy over Iran’s nuclear ambitions has sent plenty of folks scurrying back to the history books, to examine what made South Africa give up its bomb-building program. In joining the throng, though, we stumbled upon a curious factoid from the annals—an assertion, in an old (and offline) Foreign Affairs article, that South Africa initially […]

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First Contact: New Guinea Highlands

May 22nd, 2009 · No Comments

For the second installment of our nascent First Contact series, we’re gonna hit the layup and blog about this classic culture-clash documentary. A prized Microkhan correspondent and former New Guinea resident summarizes the film with far more acumen than we could ever manage: Basic story is that the initial European settlements in Papua (south side […]

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Thoughts on Lithium

April 29th, 2009 · 3 Comments

So there’s a fresh stir over Bolivia’s massive lithium reserves, which a French industrialist hopes to tap virtually all by his lonesome. This isn’t news to Microkhan, since we helped coin the term “the Saudi Arabia of lithium” last fall. But the object of our interest back then was Chile, currently the world’s leading lithium […]

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Phantoms of Industry

April 1st, 2009 · 5 Comments

Some of my favorite 19th-century paintings are those depicting mythological creatures (primarily fauns and satyrs) dancing amidst Roman ruins, presumably after downing several skins of plummy wine. So it follows that I’m also a big fan of artists like Harald Finster, whose focus is on the ghostly remnants of industry. His must-be-seen latest work has […]

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