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Northwest Voices

Seattle Times letters to the editor

December 7, 2008 at 3:06 PM

Going green without strip-mining coal

Look to the ocean

There is another solution to mining besidesenvironmentally destructive surface-strip mining: saltwater. The ocean has numerous metals (gold, silver, manganese, iron, etc.) which can be extracted via electrolysis.

By pumping saltwater inland, it creates inland lakes, where solar energy evaporates water, thus creating salt brine. Electrolysis of this brine creates hydrogen, sodium, oxygen and chlorides, along with capturing these rare metals. The evaporation of water from these lakes create local rainfall, stimulating local agriculture.

These lakes can also grow algae, which can be converted to biofuels. By combining algae for fuel with minerals extraction, it could be profitable and eliminate the need for environmentally destructive strip mining.

Underneath the American West is a deep alkaline/saltwater reservoir, which by using wind energy could pump this resource to the surface, creating inland salt-brine lakes. This could be a huge industry, meeting all of our mineral and fuel needs if the mining industry would only pay attention.

— Martin Nix, Seattle

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