It's nice to see we can still pull off a huge mining project in the USA.

Of course we need mines and wells and efficient farms and chemicals and pharmaceuticals, but...

Follow the money, that old cliche that explains just about everything in the human culture space. 

SELL THOSE PEOPLE'S LAND (it is really Federal land after all) make a deal, extract a commodity from it. The world depends on economic growth. It would be terrible if we didn't. This is how our world works. It can't be helped. It creates jobs. We can't have cool things or a badass professional military industrial complex without our own supply of copper. As Donald Trump tells us day after day; the Chinese are kicking our asses hoarding global commodities. We can't be number one if we allow that to happen.

Soon, hopefully, our (US right) technology will allow us to mine other planets and then we can treat our own planet as if it were, cough, sacred. 

We need our copper. Sacred land? What a joke. (I'm not laughing.) But, really, how can something be valuable without value added? It's just dirt and stuff obscuring metals we need to make more stuff to fuel and protect our economic growth. 

And think of all the fossil fuels we can use to dig that dirt. It's a win-win across industries. What could be more beautiful than that? Well, perhaps, lining someone's pockets to get the project approved might be a bit more attractive to some people.

(I really missed my chance to live the American dream when I didn't follow my classmate Danny O'Neal and become a lobbyist. If your lip balm doesn't smell like a butt hole, you aren't fit to live large.) 

We might want to think about how we can provide clean, renewable energy to the process of recycling all the garbage that has copper in it. Recycling copper that is. But we can leave that for our grandchildren. (Or the Chinese who keep kicking our butts.) They'll need to dig down to those landfills to get stuff to do their doomsday preps with, I mean to be able to live their doomsday lifestyles with. 

"According to the project website, Rio Tinto expects to be producing copper from the deposit—which is nearly 7,000 feet deep, or five Empire State Buildings below the Earth’s surface—in the mid-2020s."

Imagine that! That's a lot of dirt and rock to move. It's going to leave lots of space for us to repurpose when the last metric ton of copper has been extracted and shipped to China. Well, not if Donald Trump is elected to the presidency of the United States of course.  
America can be proud indeed to find more resources to exploit in its own land. And we don't even have to go to Canada. Nice. It's so much easier to do this at home and not have to make complex deals with foreign governments. But again, deal making creates jobs too right? Well, any big business is good business. When billions of dollars are involved the most important minority in the world is happy. 

Read this stellar article about investor-state dispute settlement. 




Good luck getting the project approved.

(Maybe I'll go to Dump Truck driving school and move back to the States. Or open a cafe near the mine, or offer to film the mining operations for propaganda purposes. I could have some nice cutaways with Native Americans doing sacred dances near a huge dirt digging machine. Cool. The job possibilities are endless.) 

Honestly - we do need the copper. The low hanging fruit, 7,000 feet low, needs to be extracted before we get low on gasoline and deasil. 

I love the name of the mine: "GREEN FIELDS". Well, maybe someday in the far off future when there's life after people it might resemble its lovely moniker. 

Along with the greenwashing, the companies involved are going to allow access to the mine to Native American groups who regard the land the mine is on as sacred land. Think of that. "Thanks for letting us come to the mine, things really do look and feel much better now that  you're digging it all up. No means yes after all. Can I also get a haircut, a bible, and a new suit, please? Oh, and can you throw in some quaaludes?"

Looking good!

Looking good!


"Under the bipartisan legislative deal passed by 300 votes to 119 in the House, Rio and BHP would take over 980 hectares of forest land near Superior in southeast Arizona. Federal law currently prohibits mining in the national forest, called Oak Flat. In exchange, Resolution Copper would hand over about 2020 hectares of conservation land to the federal government."

There's always a way if you have the patients and the clout, to get around prohibitions of one kind or another. 

"The federal land exchange package was tacked on to the National Defense Authorization Act on Thursday, a bill that authorizes Pentagon policies and funding for next year."

These tacked on things are also known as "riders". It makes it easy to slip one bit of legislation into something else providing some camouflage in case someone opposed to the move might take notice. 

"Copper is once again king in Arizona, and our military and our manufacturing base will be assured of critical domestic copper supplies," Congressman Gosar said after the bill passed."

Yes, copper is king. I can't imagine life as we know it now without it. In fact, I think most of us can't imagine our world significantly different from the one we have. Perhaps this is a kind of familiarity bias. We simply go along with what we know and come what may...

"Under the legislation, other new land will be added to the federal wilderness register in exchange for land to be developed for oil, natural gas, coal, timber and copper."

And this is key, we now get to see the knock on effects of the copper mine move. They can now add land that can soon be called "wilderness" to a register in exchange for land they want to extract from. Whatever they call a particular parcel of land now: forest, park, reserve etc., now the whatever you call it land, call it sacred if you will, can be developed for the production of more important, industrial commodities. The land you traded for gets put in a registry where it's called wilderness. Does the word wilderness have any meaning at all in this context? Or, I'll trade ou some privately protected land for Federally protected land so we can do what we like. There is oil down there, I don't care what you call this land we need the oil! 

Is this resource management at its best or just big business chugging along? Well, we need big business to chug along don't we? We simply can't imagine any other kind of world than the one we have now. And we're convinced that Growth is the answer to all our ills. 

"Step right up folks, I've got a tonic here called "Growth" and it's a miracle in a bottle! It will only cost you your future."

Stop slowing us down with your baggage. 

Stop slowing us down with your baggage. 

Climate skeptics think they've got it all figured out. 

Climate skeptics think they've got it all figured out. 

And here's the icing on the cake for econo-man: 

"This legislation would provide up to 25 percent of the annual US demand for copper, which is critical to US competitiveness and economic security."

Whether it comes from the USA or another country it's critical to US security and competitiveness that we have as much as we can get. The Chinese know this. Donald Trump knows it. We need to be winners! If we can't beat someone we're just imbeciles. And, if that's a zero sum game then so be it. 

Hoarding commodities is important for rapid growth, and arguably, for rapid death.

Hoarding commodities is important for rapid growth, and arguably, for rapid death.

There are still a lot of things out there we can exploit to be winners in the coliseum of economic competition. We can build even bigger buildings with the right materials technology. We've got a long way to go yet. Homo Colossus is still in the driver's seat!

Remember, the transfer of wealth to the most important minority in the world is not "theft", it's vital economic growth that is very important to those who want to be winners and not losers. It doesn't matter if it damages the lives of a large majority of people who aren't players anyway. Remember, real people are consumers, not players. Our role is to work and buy stuff that's had value added to it. This is crucial to our way of life. We've got lots of names to call people who don't believe that and a lot of them are derogatory. 


In the end, science and technology will save us (if we really need saving) or perhaps Jesus, or maybe even the Caliphate

I have to admit, I wish I were a player so I could high five the tough guys who hung in there and made that deal. But it's not for me man, not for me. 

I know we need to mine to maintain our world as it is. I just wish we could slow down a bit and reassess the value of our resources and our way of life. I'm only advocating an incremental evolution of our ideas. I want to see a long and glorious future unfold for humankind. I dread the thought of a crash and burn scenario brought about by our arrogance and lack of clear consideration of our place in the universe. 

Please watch this episode of Witness, "Rings of Fire".

Opiate addiction and mining developments are threatening the future of Canada's First Nations rural communities.

Now let's change tack and have a look at a very good conversation with someone who has a slightly different point of view. William catton, rest in peace.

This is the complete and slightly edited interview footage we shot with William Catton in 2005, in preparation for our feature-length documentary, What a Way to Go: Life at the End of Empire.


Steven Cleghorn

Steven is an autodidact, skeptic, raconteur and film producer from America who has been traveling since he was a zygote. He's a producer at The Muse Films Ltd. in Hong Kong and a constantly improving (hopefully) Globe Hacker. He's seeks the company of interesting minds.