Lots of money sloshes around boomtowns, but everyday life is shaped by scarcity, not abundance. The boom workers are newcomers. They work long hours, earn high wages, drive up the cost of housing for the locals, drive out some locals, eat out, drink a lot, brawl, overload local services, often get addicted or injured… Like a virus, mining destroys its host and then moves on. There are ghost towns across the west full of dying businesses with the landscape around them ground into heaps leaching toxic residue.

Rebecca Solnit: ‘Diary’, in London Review of Books