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Sunday, March 21, 2010

The truth about the Mining lie

This week has been a bad one for National's plan to mine in conservation land. What National are relying on are NZers pragmatism on this issue, while we face a record slump in the economy with 7.3% unemployment, NZers agree on the whole that we should have a 'stocktake' of what we have in dem dere hills.

But doing a 'stocktake' to gain a value of what we have is several thousand light years away from accepting open pit mining on sensitive conservation land. This is what National are starting to find which is why they are frantically trying to hide their report on Mining as they work out what to do (part of their report was released to the media last week and has ignited a witch hunt by the Government with them gagging DOC talking to the grand old dame of the environmental movement - the Royal Forest and Bird society).

National are starting to realize that while NZers would like a stocktake, they sure as hell don't want the actual mining itself and despite National's argument that we already allow 80 odd mines on Crown land now, their claim misses the fact that the majority of minerals being sought currently under these new schemes are in low scattered quantities meaning open pit mining is the only profitable means of extraction.

National can yell 'environmental surgical mining' as much as they like, the reality is an open pit mine doesn't con anyone just like 'scientific whaling' doesn't.

The most important part of the spin line from National is the supposed $140 billion dollars worth of wealth we supposedly have under the ground, and in this claim there seems to be nothing more than lies taped together with bullshit.

The ever brilliant Gordon Campbell has sunk deep into the $140 billion claim and that it comes from mining lobbyist Richard Barker.

To date, the media has relied on an estimate of $140 billion for the minerals potentially up for grabs – a figure derived from a March 2008 paper by the Auckland consulting geologist Richard Barker.

So the man charged with trying to convince the Government to mine on conservation land has come up with a $140 billion pot of gold over the mining rainbow, how did he get that figure? Astoundingly, he calls it a ballpark figure - how big a ball park? When NZIER did the same research as Barker, they only came up with $85 Billion, Idiot Savant picks up the point on other surveys which showed even lower valuations...

Combining the two - minerals plus non-renewable energy resources - gives a total figure (for 2000) of NZ$3,683.2 million. Quite a difference from $140 billion, isn't it?

...so we have $3, 683.2 million from one valuation, $85 billion from NZIER and $140 billion from the mining lobbyist. Note: none of this takes into account that the ACTUAL amount NZers will gain will be nowhere near as high as any of these valuations, our laws are written for the Mining Industry, we get a fraction of the mineral wealth asserted to exist AND get the environmental fallout as well.

So the $140 billion valuation is a lie, it's an attempt to keep NZers on side while National try and find a way to spin this. My guess is that they will 'find' minerals under an important National symbol, John Key will do an angry press conference demanding the National symbol be protected and while the media focus on him planting a tree at a press op, Gerry will quietly allow mining companies in through the back door.

We have built a clean green brand right when the Planet is choking on its own filth, to damage that brand for mythical riches sold to us by a mining lobbyist sounds more like the mono-rail episode from the Simpsons than a wise economic decision.

NO to mining in conservation land. No if's, no buts, the promised wealth is a joke which if we fall for, will only serve to damage our international image for very little jobs and money.


At 21/3/10 3:05 pm, Anonymous Tim said...

"So the $140 billion valuation is a lie, it's an attempt to keep NZers on side while National try and find a way to spin this"

I don't disagree. And there is an Anonymous spin doctor in these very environs that is ever-so-anxious to offer his services.

Black is actually white - it's just that you're looking at it from a reflective surface, but we know better, and better still: we know what's best for YOU.

What amazes me is that the current gubbamint (albeit equipped with anonymous blogster posters pushing shit uphill and fretting about maintaining their facade of sufustikayshun) ever had the temerity to chant "nenny state, nenny state"! Fucking pathetic!
I'd almost be prepared to predict a one-term National government NOW - were it not for some leather-jacketed, motor-cycling egg-roll that was happy to bring us student loans and prop up the Jolly Rodger, and who now masquerades as an alternative.

At 21/3/10 5:07 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

We're never going to find out how much its worth unless we do a stocktake.

Does that compute you retard?

At 21/3/10 10:53 pm, Anonymous Susan said...

Good post, personally I was all for the mining but I think I might be reconsiderng my position. Just curious, would you accept mining if there was a decent return for it?

At 22/3/10 12:14 pm, Blogger Doug said...

The simple fact is that until the ground is broken no one has a real clue about the mineeral resource. Fossiking has limited value (walking over the ground and picking things up), which is what prospecting on the conservation estate is currently mostly limited to.

So the envelope that Mr Barker is using the back of is very very large.

At 22/3/10 12:56 pm, Blogger Bomber said...

Good question Susan - i think that NZers are pragmatic enough to allow 80 odd mines to be used on crown land right now, and I don't pretend that we should NEVER mine, BUT (and here is the BUT) we make so much from our clean green image NOTHING should be allowed to threaten that, and if we do allow mining then the pay back and environmental harm minimization must be to the max - so the amount we gain back from the mining company must be larger and include funds for total rehabilitation. That is a totally separate discussion to what is happening here, here a corporate lobbyist has pulled a bullshit figure out of his arse and pushed for mining on conservation land. It reeks of a hastily thought through spin job.

At 22/3/10 5:38 pm, Anonymous Kevin Hague said...

For me one of the critical considerations is that the resources available to be mined are inherently non-renewable. Therefore there is no sustainable rate of mining. That's not to say that we shouldn't do any mining, but rather that we should use the minimum amounts of these minerals that we can (by prioritising, finding alternatives and 'upcycling'), to maximise what is still available for future generations (a kind of inter-generational opportunity cost).

Then when we come to consider where we should mine the resource from, we should choose the method and place that cause the least environmental damage.

Government's approach is the polar opposite of this. It does not consider the natural world as something with any inherent value: it's just a set of resources to be exploited for immediate gain. It's not clear to me whether they don't even think about future generations or if they simply use such a massive discount rate that the value of these materials in the future is of no consequence. What is clear to me is that if John Key's Government could, their preference would be to bulldoze, mine and dam every last square inch of conservation land for short-term gain from the minerals underneath it.

This is a battle of belief systems. If New Zealanders believe that there is inherent value in the conservation estate and if we believe that we want to leave a world that allows our children and grandchildren to live great lives, then we we need to resist this Government's environmental agenda with everything.

At 22/3/10 6:00 pm, Anonymous Susan said...

How much do we really make from our clean green image? I don't think it is unimportant, but in terms of actual tangible gains to the country I am rather sceptical that it has that much benefit, eg so much benefit that we shouldn't even consider sacrificing it, even on the margin. If you are using figures reported from some estimate are you applying equal scepticism as the mining lobbyist gets, because I have no doubt that environmental lobbyists have just as much incentive to distort that figure!
However, if you mean the clean green image shouldnt be harmed because the environment is so important above and beyond any economic consideration of having a clean environment, then surely you must concede that not everyone values the environment so highly, and given we are a democracy, the trade-off of money from mining to environmental degradation should reflect the majority preference of the population?

sorry if I seem facetious, just enjoying the debate!

At 22/3/10 7:51 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

So I wonder what the mined minerals will be used for? If there is domestic demand for rare earth elements and we can mine them cheaper than we can purchase them there may well be a case for mining.

If however the ore is sold on the international market, the net effect would be for the NZD to rise. Given the complaining from the rest of the export sector when the NZD is looking strong, I cant see how this would work.

It only makes sense to keep your currency cheap if your exports are renewable. A low currency just keeps exporters busy.

In order to have a higher standard of living for those not directly benefiting from the mining, the currency must be strong.

I speculate no mining will take place, something else is going on instead.


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