「ほっ」と。キャンペーン

チリ落盤の教訓―資源得るリスク直視を

2010/10/16
--The Asahi Shimbun, Oct. 15
EDITORIAL: Lessons from Chile
チリ落盤の教訓―資源得るリスク直視を

People all over the world held their breath as they watched the dramatic rescue of the Chilean miners and then breathed a collective sigh of relief as they were reunited with their families.
 家族との対面に至る救出の一部始終を世界中が息をのんで見つめ、胸をなで下ろした。

All of the 33 miners were trapped 700 meters underground when the copper mine in northern Chile collapsed in early August. They were lifted safely to the surface after being stuck in a tunnel for 69 days.
南米チリ北部の鉱山で、地下約700メートルに閉じこめられていた作業員33人が全員、69日ぶりに無事地上に戻ってきた。

It was a rescue drama that will be remembered by posterity. It was made possible by good judgment and effective leadership from a veteran miner, fine teamwork among the miners, the family love that supported them throughout the ordeal, aid offers from around the world, and the tenacious efforts and technological prowess of the rescue team that accomplished a dangerous mission.
 地下のリーダーの的確な判断と指導力、作業員のチームワーク、それを支えた家族愛、世界中から差し伸べられた支援の手。危険を伴う作業を成し遂げた救出チームの努力と技術力、まさに歴史に残る救出劇だった。

Behind the accident, however, lies a daunting challenge for today's world: soaring global demand for resources driven by the robust economic growth of China and other emerging countries, as well as the decreasing availability of those resources.
 だが、今回の事故の背景を見れば、世界が直面している課題が浮かび上がってくることも無視できない。
 中国など新興国の経済成長を背景とした資源需要の世界的な急増と、そうした資源がますます手に入れにくくなっているという現実である。

Chile has the world's largest copper reserves and is the largest producer of the metal. It has the world's largest open-pit copper mine, which stretches more than 4 kilometers and attracts droves of tourists, as well as many smaller mines.
 チリは、世界一の銅の埋蔵国、そして生産国だ。世界最大の露天掘りの銅山が4キロ以上にわたって広がり、観光名所となっている所があれば、規模の小さいものも少なくない。

The San Jose mine, where the accident occurred, is one of those medium- to small-sized mines. Its safety has been repeatedly called into question, and it was shut down following a fatal explosion in 2007. The mine was reopened in summer 2008 as copper prices shot up.
 事故のあったサンホセ鉱山は、そんな中小の銅鉱山の一つで、安全面での問題がしばしば指摘され、2007年に爆発事故で死者を出し、閉鎖されていた。ところが、銅価格の急騰で、08年夏に操業を再開した。

It is hard to deny that the mining was resumed hastily without enough effort to deal with safety concerns. In the August accident, as much as 700,000 tons of rock collapsed. After years of serious effort to improve safety at large mines across the globe, the rock fall surprised many industry observers, who say such a large-scale mine cave-in is now almost unthinkable.
 安全面で問題を抱えたまま操業を急いだ面が否めない。今回の事故では約70万トンもの岩石が崩れ落ちた。大規模な鉱山では安全対策が進み、近年ではこうした大規模な落盤事故はまず考えられないと驚く関係者も多い。

Demand for copper and other metals is perking up as the world economy recovers from the global recession triggered by the collapse of U.S. investment bank Lehman Brothers in 2008. In particular, China, where demand for copper started growing sharply in the late 1990s, now accounts for about a third of global demand. As a result of the explosive growth of demand, copper prices have skyrocketed.
 銅などの金属の需要は、世界経済がリーマン・ショック後の落ち込みから回復するとともに急増している。とりわけ中国では、銅の需要は1990年代後半から急増し、世界の約3分の1を占める。その結果が価格の高騰だ。

Higher prices make even poor-quality mines economically viable. The trend in recent years has been toward deeper and poorer-quality mines.
 価格が上がれば、条件の悪い鉱山でも採算が合うようになる。より深く、より悪条件の場所へ。

The San Jose mine was reopened against this backdrop.
まさに今回のような鉱山が登場することになる。

The world's dependence on China for supplies of rare earth metals, which are indispensable for manufacturing a wide range of high-tech products, is attracting much international attention.
But there is also no room for optimism about the future outlook of such common metals as copper, aluminum and lead. There are few alternatives for copper, an essential material to produce electric wires, and many of the easy-to-operate copper mines have already been developed.
 中国頼みの希少資源としてレアアースが注目されているが、銅やアルミニウム、鉛などの金属についても決して将来を楽観できない。電線に欠かせない銅などは代替品も少なく、採取の容易な鉱山はかなりの部分がすでに開発済みである。

Mining-related accidents are, unfortunately, not a rarity. More effort should be made to expand international cooperation, not just in dealing with accidents once they occur, but also to prevent accidents by implementing proper safety measures.
 世界的には、資源採掘をめぐる事故は珍しくない。今回示されたような事故後の国際協力ばかりでなく、事故防止の安全策にも力を合わせたい。

It is also necessary to take steps to prepare for the eventual depletion of these natural resources. It will become increasingly important in the coming years to make more efficient use of limited resources and expand their reuse. Japan has a significant role to play in promoting such efforts.
 天然資源だから、いずれ枯渇することも考えておかなければならない。限られた資源を有効に使うこと、そして再利用がますます重要になる。日本の役割は決して小さくない。

The U.S. administration of President Barack Obama has approved the lifting of the moratorium on deepwater oil drilling imposed after the Deepwater Horizon explosion and spill in the Gulf of Mexico. It is also vital to minimize the environmental impact of underground mining and resource development projects.
 米オバマ政権は、流出事故を起こした海底油田の操業再開にゴーサインを出した。地下資源の採取は、環境への影響を最小限に抑えることも大切だ。
[PR]

by kiyoshimat | 2010-10-17 04:34 | 英字新聞

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