Clean Mining versus Dirty Mining

Is the opposite of clean living dirty living?  Is the opposite of clean mining dirty mining?

If I ride home on my bike along Adanac taking about an hour—clean living—and then settle down to a brandy, a cigarette, and a porn movie—dirty living.  Or am I just doing what humans do?

If I spend an hour on the phone plotting a course for a new mining facility dirty or clean doing?   I know in my heart of hearts that my consulting advice will result in a cleaner mining facility.  But am I thereby contributing to dirty mining?

Should I only consult to mines on the Witwatersrand which is already so affected by mining, that nothing new can do further dirtying?  Or should I blog about the proposed Pebble Mine in Alaska which the EPA concludes is the dirtiest thing we could do?  Would yet another blog posting contribute to clean mining?

I suspect that we just go in the wrong direction by trying to brand activities as clean or dirty.  We, as humans, do some things.  Some things we do to survive; some we do to progress; some we do for pure pleasure.

Should I only read Jane Austin and write EduMine courses?  On which, today I turned in the first draft of a new EduMine course on groundwater modeling for mines and mining.  It will be a while before that is accessible.  But I do seek reviewers.  If you are interested, give me a call or send an email.  I would appreciate your comments.

Is writing courses about mining a “clean or dirty” pastime?  I think it is an innocent pastime.  Although others have accused me of aiding & abetting mining by propagating information & knowledge about how to go about mining.

Would certification of a process as clean, make it clean, and therefore above reproach?  Would a mine using said certified clean process be more acceptable (a better investment) than a mine using the conventional, ordinary process?   Or would the mine using a certified clean process be seen as a mere braggart and a lousy investment for spending more than is needed (justified?)

Fact is that we need to go mining.  We need the material from mining that makes bikes, buildings, and yes even some of those amazing porn machines.  We are not First Nations or Second Nations that can live off the Federal government or Bolivian nationalization, or oil from Venezuela—and deny reality.  We care not to hunt monkeys or live off roots and ants.  We do not have salmon rivers running through our back gardens.  We do not have unsustantiated myths to sustain us.  We cannot mine landfills for discarded metal.  There are not enough landfills and have you considered the air quality impact of reopening an old landfill in an urban area.  No chance of that, unless you relocate whole suburbs of Democrats.

Or are there just some places where mining is per se clean or per se dirty?  Do we really need more uranium mines besides the Grand Canyon when vast areas of Saskatchewan are open and ready to mine?  Do we need yet another copper (and gold) mine in Alaska when the Atacama Desert beckons?  Should we churn the soils of Montana when the desolate interior of Australia is there.

If I answer these questions as an investor, the answer is simple: go mining whereever there is ore and profit.  Screw the canyon, bay, and Hollywood retreat.

If I answer these questions as a miner, the answer is simple: go mine where there is local support and profit.

If I answer these questions as a Liberal (note the capital L as in the Victorian concept of a Liberal, and not is the pejorative tea-party distortion ) the answer is thus:  some things are good because they contribute to the utilitarian benefit of society; some things are bad because they are to the detriment of the common weal.  Invoking the concept of the tragedy of the commons, sometimes the king (the Platonic ruler) has to act for the good even if it means the detriment of some.

I submit that we have to move beyond the concept that every miner, every junior mining company, every major, has an unfettered right to mine whereever the fancy takes them.  That is the tragedy of the commons writ large and sad.

We have to move, however much we may hate the idea as inimical to western values, to a point where national and international policy dictates the good place to go mining and designated places where it is bad to mine.

A challenge to be sure.  My approach will involve vast overturning of conventional wisdom.  Tough!  As a blogger that is my right to make mad suggestions for serious debate.  Meanwhile as an investor, I will put my money where my ethics, convictions, and need for dividends demands.

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