Mining industry spin | The Jackal

10 Jan 2012

Mining industry spin

I happened across a pro mining article today, written by an obvious industry hack calling themselves Teresa Clifford. You really have to dig deep to find any truth in the article at all.

It's full of misinformation, and highlighting the propaganda will hopefully show just how ludicrous the pro-mining argument can be. Here are a few excerpts from the badly written article:

Following the recent national elections in November 2010, the thorny issue of mining in New Zealand is back on the agenda.
Australia’s mineral exports grew by 55 per cent to US$139 billion in 2010 and are projected to reach US$180 billion in 2011, thanks to China’s strong economic performance.

Talk about cherry picking data. According to Australian mineral statistic 2010 (PDF), energy and mineral resource exports decreased by 14% from 2009-2010, and according to Abares report (PDF), which is an independent government research agency:

Unit export returns for Australian mineral resources are forecast to rise by 11.2 per cent in 2011–12, after an expected increase of 28.8 per cent in 2010–11.

Clifford's 55% growth rate is completely wrong! The thing that mad me laugh the most about Clifford's horrendously researched article though, was a request saying; 'Buy this article for your publication'. What a joke... but the laughs just kept coming:

In 2009, Gerard Brownlee, the then minister of energy proposed a series of changes to the Crown Minerals Act, which under Schedule 4 protects national parks and conservation reserves from mineral exploration and extraction.
In reality, mining uses less than 0.1 per cent of NZ’s land area and sites of former mines are now rehabilitated for other uses.

All former mining sites in New Zealand are rehabilitated? What a load of codswallop! If there wasn't an environmental problem with old mining sites in New Zealand, why then is the government preparing to spend $15.2 million to clean up the Tui Mine site?

With an estimated 160,000 tonnes of tailings that need containment to avoid leaching into streams and to avoid the risk of a dam failure that would threaten the town of Te Aroha... it's only one of many toxic waste sites around New Zealand that need cleaning up at huge expense to the taxpayer.

There's just so much to pick apart in Clifford's atrocious article:

Approximately 1,300 of the evacuated snails are still living in small two-litre ice-cream containers in fridges. A lot of work and money – well over $7million so far - goes into keeping the snails alive. Solid Energy provides regular updates on the progress of the snails on its corporate website and has even produced a DVD of the snails’ adventures!

In 2007, DOC captured nearly 6000 Powelliphanta "Augustus" endangered snails and removed them from the Stockton plateau on the West Coast, so that Solid Energy could opencast mine the area. 4000 were subsequently released back into the environment.

In November 2011 it was reported that a faulty temperature control killed about 800 of the rare giant snails, which were already under significant threat of extinction. Solid Energies feel good Snail movie was made prior to the deaths... so doesn't document that part of the "adventure".
Buller Coalfield, Westland with Stockton plateau in the background.
It was reported in October 2011 that Solid Energy had spent around $600,000 on the project to date... clearly nowhere near the $7 million claimed by Clifford. Not content with ignoring the facts, Clifford then has a go at Forest and Bird and Greenpeace:

Such groups have lost faith in humanity’s ability to solve difficult problems through ingenuity, creativity and production and have little confidence in our ability to deal with the natural challenges thrown up by mining through technical innovation or geo-engineering solutions.

Au Contraire you mining industry hack, those who don't want mining at any expense know that there are many ingenious products that make large scale destruction of the environment unnecessary.

There are developments in clean technology that if implemented would render many large-scale mining practices obsolete... mankind only has to have the confidence to rise to the challenge, and embrace a cleaner future.