Thursday, May 25, 2006

Pinches Conquistadores

Barrick Gold, a Canadian company, is developing a new operation in Chile. I bet the arguments went something like this:

Opposition: "But you're destroying two glaciers."
Barrick: "Jobs."

Opposition: "But, you'll endanger, perhaps permanently, our supplies of fresh water."
Barrick: "Jobs."

Opposition: "Contemporary gold mining is wasteful, toxic, and viable only because of a historically-founded, unreasonable valuation of gold!"
Barrick: "Jobs."

Anyone who has been part of a community group opposing an ugly new development project (mines, private prisons, hog farms) knows this: no matter how simple your objection is, it will be answered by the simplistic refrain few people are willing to challenge. It's stupid and infuriating.

And what the hell does Igor (that's "Eye-gore") Gonzales mean by problems that are "social in nature"?
SANTIAGO, Chile (Reuters) - Canadian miner Barrick Gold (ABX.TO: Quote) said on Wednesday the remaining details of its $1.5 billion Pascua Lama gold project were on track for final approval by the Chilean government despite environmental and community opposition.

At a world mining conference in Santiago, Igor Gonzales, president of Barrick Gold South America, said the problems the Pascua Lama project is confronting are no different from those of its other projects.

"The biggest challenges we are facing by far, in both South America and Africa, are social in nature," said Gonzales.

The project has faced strong criticism from environmental and community groups worried about water pollution and wary of the project's original proposal to remove glaciers in the Andes mountain range.
I hope that we next--and last--see Igor floating alone down some tropical river, surrounded only by his monkeys.

What the hell am I thinking? He doesn't deserve the company of monkeys.

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