The exact cycles and targets have to be determined and then constantly monitored from the start by an external authority that retains the ability to shutdown the site at a whim. Then leave it to the operator to create their own safety margins inside of that framework. If this means that the project will no be profitable, you just dodged a bullet.
And yes, there is risk of treating mining company of money making machine and wasting money for something else.
Still better than letting company to pollute for free.
It's not like demand for metals and oil just goes away because we refuse to dig them up.
Edit - also seriously, you live in one of the safest, most progressive countries in the world and you dismiss it as a collection of mining companies? If that's all Canada was it would be strip mined to bedrock and everyone would live in labour camps. Have some perspective.
And yet, the fed bought the Keystone XL pipeline for $7B more than it was worth in order to bypass those "strict" environmental (and indigenous) protection policies. While I don't agree with the grandparent's assessment, it's not that wrong. It describes the middle provinces pretty well, and if you generalize to "resource extraction", you pick up BC (lumber, fish) and the Maritimes (fish). And we're home to quite a few mining companies like GoldCorp whose operations are largely foreign, but have a big impact on policy through lobbying.
This doesn't remotely represent what actually happened with the Keystone XL.
First of all, the government paid $4.5B for it, which makes it literally impossible for them to have overpaid by $7B.
They also haven't bypassed anything in the process. They were deemed to have not done due diligence in consulting native tribes and re-opened consultations which took about a year to resolve before they could start building.
Canada is a huge landmass with a relatively tiny population. We cannot compete on the global scale in terms of population productivity. Our economic edge is our natural resources. How else do you suggest we make money to pay for our healthcare and all of the other social services we've come to expect?
We have what the world needs. IMO we can either dig it up and export it or expect wars to be fought here for control of it.
On one hand, I stand corrected on the cash paid. On the other hand, you're wrong, its actual market value may be negative, so the strongest criticism is that I pulled the -2.5B real valuation out of my butt.
And yeah, they're tied up in court because their attempt to steamroll the first nations and skirt environmental regulations is probably illegal, but we'll see what the courts say.
And no, the world doesn't need more oil. Nor does the world need oldgrowth lumber, nor does the world need unsustainably caught fish. We need to stop tapping new wells, leave that shit in the ground, to prevent climate disasters. We need to transition to managed forest products. There's no easy solutions on fish. We probably just need to eat less of it (and yeah, that's going to be difficult for me too)
Throw in real estate and oil and that pretty much covers it. Canada doesn’t have a very bright future.
In particular, this specific mine in Greenland is also a uranium deposit, and could be especially devastating to the environment, at relatively little yield. Greenlanders are correct to be skeptical and concerned (especially given that Greenland Minerals is actually an Australian-Chinese company).
A major reason why the mine is being opposed is that a lackadaisical approach to toxic / radioactive waste is not in fact endemic to rare earth mining. It is seemingly endemic in multinational state-corporate enterprises (on which Greenlanders will have very little influence, cf the Malaysian government’s experience with that mine, which was also owned/administered by an Australian company).
I agree with everything in your comment, except for where you say that the parent’s idea is myopic.
Why do you think that?
> the end result of this thinking is that critical stuff like electric cars, wind turbines, etc is completely dependent on a totalitarian country
while ignoring that the end result of their thinking is a race-to-the-bottom of nations poisoning their own people to combat China. It’s why I think they are being myopic - they are taking environmental devastation as a given and arguing that China must be stopped at all costs. (Not to mention the conflation of “resources not physically in China” with “non-Chinese resources” which, as stated above, is not actually true here).
From Wikipedia https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thorium-based_nuclear_power
"Weinberg realized that you could use thorium in an entirely new kind of reactor, one that would have zero risk of meltdown. ... his team built a working reactor .... and he spent the rest of his 18-year tenure trying to make thorium the heart of the nation’s atomic power effort. He failed. Uranium reactors had already been established, and Hyman Rickover, de facto head of the US nuclear program, wanted the plutonium from uranium-powered nuclear plants to make bombs. Increasingly shunted aside, Weinberg was finally forced out in 1973."
They are needed for high performance electric motors though.
Cadmium-telluride and CIGS cells use more rare elements, but they have been overtaken by the ongoing fall in cost of conventional silicon wafer cells, so you won't see too many of them being installed at the moment.
(The failure of CdTe is probably for the best given how spectacularly poisonous both of those metals are)
Despite their name rare-earth elements are not that rare either. They occur in rather low concentrations though and never pure either (i.e. always as compounds) which makes mining and processing them complex.
It's just the price is set by people who can mine it for nearly free from the most rich deposits in the world.
Who do you mean by "our"?
I believe the Greenlanders' point is that it's their minerals and their local environment that may be wrecked, so they wish to either prevent this or set terms on which it is done.
There are other sources of rare earths - they can even be found in the tailings of other mines.
This has real impacts. Because if your resource models are inaccurate, then your environmental impact is magnified. What's worse is that mine lifecycles are very long. Long enough to mean the decision makers when opening a mine, might not be around when the mine closes. Which can cause carelessness, especially if they don't live in the area.
Stricter environmental impact assessment rules might work. But geo-scientific research is underfunded. So making it harder to open a mine, might cause the overall funding for research to reduce. Causing our models, especially in the mineral exploration stage, to not really advance much. So nothing really gets done until some country deregulates the industry, and so the problem persists.
So moves like this can work, but the research has to be there to support the new age of mining. There's some trade off here, between mining and burning fossil fuels. But this seems to be an example of where the negative effects of mining more REM are local, where as the negative effects of burning more Fossil fuels are global. But it's not a binary decision in most cases.
Rare earth mining seems pretty bad.
Hello fellow Canadian. What do you mean by this? No matter which indicator you pick, e.g. share of GDP or share of employment, manufacturing is bigger than resource extraction in Canada. Why would you not instead say "... a country that is essentially a collection of manufacturing companies with a flag (Canada)..."?
The usage of the term leftist is very intriguing to me. It was once exclusively used to describe violent communist rebels in a far away jungle. The most common phrase was "leftist guerrillas." It is a very loaded term historically.
Then, some time in the last couple years, unabashedly conservative news sources and personalities began to use it to describe anyone that doesn't vote GOP.
Today the word was used by NPR in the "speakable" tag which is what appears as the headline in Google News.
Based on the NPR article's content "Leftist" comes out of nowhere to me. Many other words could have been used like and each of those words is less loaded and likely more accurate than "leftist."
I see the term used regularly all of a sudden, even by reddit commentors to describe themselves.
The term has been very successfully normalized in a very short time.
I am truly in awe of how conservative messaging is so successful. I would love to understand the mechanisms for use in business. Does anyone have any thoughts or insights on this?
I find it interesting that you find the term "leftist" to be so loaded, because to me (living in the UK), the main issue with this term is that it does not make clear that this is a party to the left of the social democrats, that considers themselves explicitly democratic socialist.
That said, I'll note the NPR article now has the headline "Opposition Wins Elections In Greenland, Casting Doubt On Future Of Rare-Earth Mine", and I actually find it more disturbing than that they initially used "Leftist" that they've managed to avoid even once mentioning that this is a socialist party. Not mentioning the views of the larger party in an article about an election is really odd.
It feels like they want to downplay how left-wing the Greenland electorate is. It's just mentioned that they're the main opposition to the social-democratic party, but it's worth noting that the social-democrats and socialists combined now have 2/3's of the Greenland parliament, and the rest are mostly centrist liberals.
It's also worth mentioning that this also means 26 of 31 seats are held by parties favouring independence from Denmark (though not necessarily immediately), but that the opposition to the mine on environmental grounds beat out the argument that the mining project would improve the prospect of independence by providing increased revenues and jobs.
It's a remarkably vapid article.
The advent of electric cars made rare earths equivalent to oil.
I wouldn't wish to any small/weak country to have significant reserves of them.
There hasn't been a political coup within the Nordic countries during the last 50 years, and I'm quit sure the last 100 too. That is, unless you count the coups during WWII reacting to outside invasions. Compare that with the number of coups in South America during the same time.
As stated, Denmark is a Nato and an EU member, so an actual invasion is simply unthinkable within today's political system.
On a more serious note, why would we need a bigger navy? Is Russia going to invade because Greenland won't let some corporations mine? Or is it the corporations themselves that will? Also; NATO, baby...
That said, I don't think it's likely.
Obviously, conservation is conservative!
But your second sentence gives me the impression of someone who really revels in simplistic categories and concepts.
There are some forms of public spending that are probably good for sustainability, and necessary to be undertaken by the public will. These should be carefully considered without moralizing the arguments for or against, or aligning the argument with political tribes.
All models are wrong, but some models are useful.
How does providing food and medical care for the poor negatively impact the environment?
It’s a reasonable question, but you pose it in moralizing terms, which is exactly the problem I am highlighting with environmental leftism. The movement seems to embrace one side of a moral crusade rather than a rational set of sustainable policies. This is the same reason that anti-environmentalism finds support among conservatives, which is also lunacy. Environmental conservatism should be a thing, but it’s not.
I should have included war in my list as another form of extremely wasteful and environmentally-disastrous practice. A huge portion of defense spending is completely anachronistic, and these areas tend to have the greatest environmental impact.
There are a whole lot of measures the mining company can potentially try to offer to make this more palatable if so inclined.
Eco-friendly mining is somewhat of an oxymoron but there are ways to reduce the impact of mining.