Today we took the California grandkids to see The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, the third in the Chronicles of Narnia. Then we went to Barnes & Noble and bought Prince Caspian, which we had not hitherto seen. We watched Prince Caspian this evening, and so I am now satiated with Aslan, Caspians, Narnians, and great battle scenes. They used much metal to make the armour worn by the warriors in the battles between opposing peoples. But nowhere did we see a mine or get any inkling of the source of the metals that made the epic battles possible.
The movies both include magnificent scenery that could well be British Columbia in summer. There were views of bald and bare mountains and I could not but help wonder if these vast mountains contained mines and how they mined them and how they closed them, if ever they did.
All of which set me wondering about the closure criterion philosophy that the closure should reflect the will and desires of the decision makers, stakeholders, or whatever you choose to call them.
My mind wondered over the criteria the Narnias might use to close the mines and how the decisions would be made. Narnia always seems to be ruled by Kings and Queens of varying wisdom and prudence. So I suppose the closure criteria and decision-making process was easy: the King decides. If a wise King, no doubt he consults with his advisors, but they, being the upper class, would have different perspectives to the common folk who inhabit the woods and streams. Still we are forced to conclude that in Narnia the closure criteria would rely heavily on the consensus of the decision makers: the King, advisors, and the holders and controllers of power.
At this link is a document on mine closure put out by the Australians. Hard to think of them as Narnia. Yet here is what they say of mine closure:
- Plan, design, operate and close operations in a manner that enhances sustainable development.
- Consult with interested and affected parties in the identification, assessment and management of all significant social, health, safety, environmental and economic impacts associated with our activities.
- Inform potentially affected parties of significant risks from mining, minerals and metals operations and of the measures that will be taken to manage the potential risks effectively.
- Contribute to community development from project development through closure in collaboration with host communities and their representatives.
Almost sounds as though it is lifted straight from the Narnian Mine Closure Handbook. Sad to say mostly sentimental twaddle. For it would take the wisdom of Jove, Aslan, and the Four Kings of Old Narnia to say what this means in a practical case. The lawyer in me immediately ask who the “host communities” are and what you do if they disagree amongst themselves.
Not to mention that horror word of mining propaganda “sustainable.” We are asked to close mine operations in a way that promotes sustainable development. Silly me! All those perpetual care programs; all that pump & treat forever constitutes the most sustainable of all activities. In theory and in practice the work will have to be sustained forever, or at least for as long as there is a society that cares.
In the case of Narnia we learn that once the old kings and queens departed (in the Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe) Narnia fell to invaders, who probably did not care and who set about destroying the old ways and even the Narnian peoples themselves. I bet the closed mines were reopened to provide weapons to control the Narnians who had failed to make provision for their own protection and invasion and subjugation. Aslan, as their god, was rather distant and did nothing to help them. He had to call in the British to help. But then C.S. Lewis was English and probably believed that the English could right the wrongs of the world left unattended by God.
Enough general mutterings on mine closure. The Narnian movies are great. Go see them. And read the kids the books too, for they are classic, even if the god therein is distant and needs the British to restore decency.