Archive for August, 2008


Mining may well become a hot issue in the presidential election.  With the choice of Governor Sarah Palin as his running mate, McCain has introduced into the action an avidly pro-mining candidate from a pro-mining state. 

Just last night, having heard Obama, I had concluded things could get no more exciting.  Grant him a magnificent speech.  Grant that it is absolutely clear the difference between him an McCain is: (a) abortion & jail; (b) gay rights & marriage; (c) more Scalias and Thomases on the Supreme Court; and (d) months versus centuries in Iraq.  And of course the right to dream.

But this morning all those stark differences between the candidates no longer seem top reasons for voting one way or the other.  Now as mining-afficianodos, we must also think about a female vice-president with five kids, who carries a gun, believes in global warming, and supports mining. 

I can hardly wait to see Alaska’s  Palin and Anglo’s Carroll signing the Pebble accord.   Or see the line up at the Johannesburg and Vancouver airports for flights to remote mining towns in Alaska.   Can you see Palin lecturing the governor of Montana, Brian Schweitzer on mining rights?   Or the beautiful people sailing around new oil rigs off Huntington Beach?   What about Palin teaching Jared Polis about cyanide

Stand by.  This is about to become the most exciting election ever.  And mining issues may well be central.  And that is as it should be.  For mining starts it all and ends it all.  And if we cannot get our mining policies, developments, production, economy, closure, and long-term site benefits right, what can we get right.


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I have just added to the Blogroll (Links) on the left hand side of this page a new blog on mining.  It is the BC First Nations Mining Summit Blog.  It appears to have been on line since about July, but I have only just come across them. Not that my thinking on the issue counts for much, but for what it is worth, I welcome with enthusiasm any blog on mining.  I wish them prolific writing and vast numbers of hits.

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There are thousands of responses on the web to the crashing defeat of Ballot Measure 4 in Alaska which would have stopped mining in the state.  Here are some of my favorites: 

From SwittersB’s Weblog

Interviewed at the polling stations, Anchorage voters said they felt caught between two Alaskan icons — fishing and mining.  “I thought it was excessive on both sides. It seemed like a big screaming match,” said Seth Miraglia, a Bristol Bay gillnet fisherman from Anchorage.


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Alaska remains a mining state.  And the salmon will have to rely on perpetual water treatment to keep ’em healthy. 

Currently the news is that Ballot Measure 4 is failing.  That is the ballot in Alaska that was designed to stop the Pebble Mine without naming the mine.  That is the ballot so full of spelling mistakes and bad strategy, that everybody from the State Governor to the majority of Alaskans rejected it (thirty-eight thousand to thirty thousand votes?) 

We will never know if they rejected the ballot because of confusion—people tend to vote no when they are confused.   We will never know if they rejected the ballot because they believe their laws are good enough–who likes to admit your current laws are inadequate when you have used them for so long to your benefit.  And we will never know if they rejected it because they actually do choose mining over salmon fishing. 


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Oxfam in July 2008 published Metals mining and sustainable development in Central America

Naturally they are critical of mining.  Naturally they set out to warn Central American countries not to allow mining.  There is little point in reading this publication for those “new insights.”  What is fun about this report is that they conclude that badly run countries do not benefit from mining, and that since the nations of Central America are so badly run,  they therefore should not undertake mining.  Oxfam hangs on their own noose in this report.  Let me explain their dilemma.


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To end the day, my accolades to Syncrude for suing Greenpeace for sending innocent young fools out to die on the end of a tailings pipeline. 

I have previously written about a blog site where one of the kids describes how scared he was, and how he had been deluded about how dangerous what he would be doing was. 

Syncrude must sue Greenpeace for irresponsibility in sending kids into danger.  Greenpeace acted no better than an old British general sending lower class soldiers out to die:

“Forward, the Light Brigade!”
Was there a man dismay’d?
Not tho’ the soldier knew
    Someone had blunder’d:
Their’s not to make reply,
Their’s not to reason why,
Their’s but to do and die:
Into the valley of Death
     Rode the six hundred.

If one of those kids had died, we can be sure Greenpeace would be sanctimonious about the death and would be suing Syncrude for dangerous conditions. 

If Syncrude achieves no more than keeping irresponsible managers in Greenpeace from endangering innocent young fools, they will have achieved something. 


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Two dumb headlines from the weekend.  Both about mining.  Both illustrate how respectable mining and political groups twist the truth to their advantage, and whitewash their acts with misleading verbiage.  In this case I propose the biggest sinner is the Canadian Institute of Mining, Metallurgy and Petroleum.  In this instance they manage to be more dishonest than even the Alaskans fighting to stop the Pebble Mine, and that is saying a lot.  Let me explain. 

From the CIM Magazine come the headline: Mining’s Sustainable Future: innovative technologies, environmental stewardship, social responsibility.

Keep in mind that a few weeks ago a British court decide that sustainable in the context of mining is so ambiguous as to be meaningless.  Pity the poor CIM for this ill-timed headline.  This issue of the CIM Magazine truly reinforces the silliness of the term sustainable in the context of mining.    I recommend the August issue of the CIM magazine if you want to see how a single word can be stretched and contorted out of all reality in the interests of whitewashing a concept.  Just two examples of irrelevant use of the word sustainable in the magazine:


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