Child labor, human rights abuses and deaths are routinely ignored by Greens and Democrats
Marathon Petroleum recently announced it will “indefinitely idle” its Martinez Refinery. The decision will remove hundreds of jobs, billions of dollars, and nearly 7 million gallons of gasoline, diesel and other petroleum liquids per day from the energy-hungry California economy. It will also send fuel prices even higher for minority and other poor families that already pay by far the highest gasoline prices in the continental United States: $1.32 more per gallon of regular than in Louisiana and Texas.
California’s green and political interests don’t want drilling or fracking, pipelines, or nuclear, coal or hydroelectric power plants – or mining for the materials needed to manufacture electric cars. They prefer to have that work done somewhere else, and just import the energy, cars and consumer goods.
They’ve long wanted a totally electric vehicle (EV) fleet, which they claim would be clean, ethical, climate-friendly and sustainable. Of course, those labels hold up only so long as they look solely at activities and emissions within California state boundaries – and not where the mining, manufacturing and electricity generation take place. That kind of “life cycle” analysis would totally disrupt their claims.
Consider copper. A typical internal combustion engine uses about 50 pounds (23 kilograms) of this vital everyday metal, the International Copper Association says. A hybrid car requires almost 90 lb (40 kg); a plug-in EV needs 132 lb (60 kg); and a big electric bus can use up to 812 lb (369 kg) of copper. If all 15,000,000 California cars were EVs, they would need almost 1,000,000 tons of copper.
But copper ores average just 0.5% metal by weight, notes energy analyst Mark Mills. That means 200,000,000 tons of ore would have to be dug up, crushed, processed and refined to get that much copper. Almost every step in that process would require fossil fuels – and emit carbon dioxide and pollutants.
That’s just California. According to Cambridge University Emeritus Professor of Technology Michael Kelly, replacing all the United Kingdom’s vehicles with next-generation EVs would require more than half the world’s annual production of copper; twice its annual cobalt; three quarters of its yearly lithium carbonate output; and nearly its entire annual production of neodymium.
Just one electric car or backup-power battery weighs 1,000 pounds and requires extracting and processing some 500,000 pounds of various ores, Mills says. The true costs of “green” energy are staggering.
Imagine replacing all of the USA’s nearly 300,000,000 cars, SUVs, pickup trucks, buses, trucks and other vehicles with electric versions under the Green New Deal – and then charging them daily. The millions of wind turbines, billions of solar panels, billions of backup-power batteries, thousands of miles of new transmission lines, grid upgrades and million or so fast charging stations all across America would also require copper, concrete, all these other metals and many more materials, in incomprehensible quantities.
Alaska’s Pebble Mine deposit has an estimated 35 million tons of high-grade copper ore and 3 million tons of molybdenum and other critical GND ores. The copper alone is nearly two times the world’s 2019 output of that essential element. Permits were blocked for years for questionable reasons. But the US Army Corps of Engineers recently found that mining would not have a “measurable effect” on sockeye salmon numbers in the Bristol Bay watershed and should be allowed to proceed, under tough US pollution control, reclamation, wildlife protection, workplace safety, fair wage and child labor laws.
Environmentalists intend to delay the Pebble Mine as long as possible – and block other US exploration and mining projects. That’s why most mining and processing is done overseas, much of it in China and Mongolia or by Chinese companies in Africa, Asia and Latin America, where none of these laws apply.
Most of the world’s rare earth ores are extracted near Baotou, Inner Mongolia by pumping acid into the ground, then processed using more acids and chemicals. Producing one ton of rare earth metals releases up to 420,000 cubic feet of toxic gases, 2,600 cubic feet of acidic wastewater, and a ton of radioactive waste. The resulting black sludge is piped into a foul, lifeless lake. Numerous local people suffer from severe skin and respiratory diseases, children are born with soft bones, and cancer rates have soared.
Lithium comes largely from Tibet and arid highlands of the Argentina-Bolivia-Chile “lithium triangle.” Dead, toxic fish join carcasses of cows and yaks floating down Tibet’s Liqi River, which has been poisoned by the Ganzizhou Rongda mine. Native people in the ABC triangle say lithium operations contaminate streams needed for humans, livestock and irrigation, and leave mountains of discarded salt.
The world’s top producer of cobalt is the Democratic Republic of Congo, where some 40,000 children as young as four toil with their parents for less than $2 a day up to 12 hours a day. Many die in cave-ins, or more slowly from constant exposure to toxic, radioactive mud, dust, water and air that puts dangerous levels of cobalt, lead, uranium and other heavy metals into their bodies. The cobalt ore is sent to China for processing by the Chinese-owned Congo Dongfang International Mining Company.
That’s just to meet current raw material requirements. Try to picture the raw material demands, Third World mining and child labor conditions, and ecological destruction, under the Green New Deal.
Liberals often say they support sustainable, ethical coffee, sneakers, handbags and diamonds. No child labor, sweat shops or unsafe conditions tolerated. But it’s a different story with green energy and EVs. In 2019, California Assembly Bill 735 proposed that the state certify that “zero emission” electric vehicles sold there are free of any materials or components that involve child labor. Democrats voted it down. The matter is complicated, they “explained.” It would be too hard to enforce, cost too much and imperil state climate goals. And besides, lots of other industries also use child labor. (So shut up about it.)
Last month, the US House of Representatives had an opportunity to legislate a national certification that federally funded electric buses and charging stations would not include minerals mined with child labor. The Transportation Committee approved the amendment 43-19 (all 19 nay votes were Democrats). But Pete DeFazio(D-OR) quietly replaced the enforceable certification language with a meaningless statement that “it is the policy of the United States” that funds “should not be used” for items involving child labor.
DeFazio claimed certification is unnecessary because US trade agreements prohibit child labor. But there is no agreement with Congo, and China has shown no interest in ending child labor in its supply chains. (Plus, the matter is complicated, hard to enforce and perilous for climate and Green New Deal goals.)
It’s easy for Nancy Pelosi and her colleagues to wear Kente cloth stoles in solidarity with Black Lives Matter. And for Sierra Club staff to criticize the organization’s “history and culture of white supremacy” – what I call callous, deadly and arguably racist eco-imperialism and carbon colonialism. We need real reform, and an end to the cancel culture that silences discussion about the horrors of what’s going on in too many non-white areas of the United States and world.
The human and ecological realities of GND policies cry out for debate. So do the violence and death that preceded and followed George Floyd’s inexcusable death. Not just the 25 police killings of unarmed blacks all across America in 2019 that have become the narrow focus of Black Lives Matter, politicians and rioters. But also the murders of David Dorn, Patrick Underwood and other police officers; Mekhi James, LeGend Taliferro, Secoriea Turner and other black children gunned down by their fellow blacks; and as many as 7,000 American black men, women and children murdered by blacks every year.
In Chicago, over the July 4 weekend, police reported 87 shootings and 17 deaths, and nearly a dozen of those shot were children caught in the crossfire, the New York Post despaired. In fact, the black-on-black Windy City murder toll over almost any two recent successive weekends exceeds those 25 police killings.
“Every single person who has been shot in New York City [so far] this July, nearly 100 in total, has been a member of the minority community,” NBC News reporter Tom Winter tweeted, “and 97% of shooting victims in June were members of the city’s minority community.” The solution is defunding the police?
ALL these African, Asian, Latin American and minority American lives matter. It’s time to talk about it honestly, figure out what’s really driving the inhumanity, and create a world we can be proud to live in.
Paul Driessen is senior policy analyst for the Committee For A Constructive Tomorrow (www.CFACT.org) and author of books and articles on energy, environment, climate and human rights issues.
Thousands of Christians have been killed by Muslims in Africa in the last few years. The Pope doesn’t talk about it. No mention at my Catholic Church. Lots of Censorship on the internet, especially You Tube. Tell the Truth and you’ll end up like Stefan Molyneux.
Those lives don’t matter because where they live they can’t vote for US Democrats. But if Democrats could figure out a way to have them vote in US elections, then their lives would matter.
That’s just how it works. #truth
No, then Democrats would pretend their lives matter – the same way they do with all the plebs living in Democrat-controlled areas.
My cynical observation obviously wasn’t cynical enough vis-a-vis the reality of Democrats.
“Californian Privilege” ?
Its not the lives that they care about, it is the culture. The culture that can continue to be used as a segregating tool. At times, “look at me, I’m different and special and deserving”. At other times “leave me alone, I’m the same as you, except underprivileged and deserving”.
“Black Culture Matters” (BCM) should be the mantra. If the kids in the picture were plopped down (immigrated) anywhere in the USA (“MAGA country”, or Detroit), they would not fit in, and they would feel it. They would be worse off in Detroit (wrt society/culture) than they would be in a 95% non-black area.
And I am pretty sure that they would not be treated poorly by those in authority unless/until they acclimated to the BCM attitude & culture.
Though Officer Chauvin didn’t do Floyd any favors by keeping him in a stamdard neck hold according to Minneapolis police procedures, the forensic evidence points to Floyd’s ingesting 3 times the potentially the lethal dose of fentanyl along with a toxic mix of methamphetamines as the primary cause of his death. He was foaming at the mouth, complaining of shortness of breath and claustrophobia, and exhibiting severe paranoia while he was still upright and insisted on being moved out to the ground from the police car, which the officers complied with.
They radioed for an ambulance long before his final minutes because they obviously believed Floyd and thought something bad was happening to him. The autopsy report makes it clear that Floyd brought about his own death though Chauvin’s continued restraint after they couldn”t find a pulse anymore is inexplicable and appears to be negligent. Nevertheless, it was Floyd who took the drugs that led to his death. Had the ambulance gotten there sooner it’s possible that they may have been able to save him, but that was not the fault of the officers on the scene.
More free Air Jordans and Plasma Flat Screens for the People of Minneapolis when the officers get acquitted. If they can find the few stores re-opened.
Blaming the victim – SOP for racists and misogynists everywhere.
Ah yes, the typical response of the socialist to facts that they can’t refute.
Once the left declares someone a victim, you are not permitted to point out that the “victim” was anything less than a pure, unadulterated saint, who never did anything wrong in his life.
Why is pointing out the facts of this case “blaming the victim” in your pathetic excuse for a mind?
And why was misogynist included in his comment. I guess you have to hit all the standard victim categories.
Like most leftists, he loves to use big word, but he can’t be bothered to learn what they actually mean.
In this case, misogynist by definition means a hatred of women. I’m fairly certain that Floyd was not a female.
Sexist would still make no sense in context, but would at least be the correct usage.
Bruce you forgot to work homophobic into your fact-denying rant. Come on, if you’re going to reach for the canards, reach for them all.
Oh they matter all right…..as long as they keep producing cobalt at a rate that satisfies the demand by sufferers of imbesilicosis for more and more and more and faster and faster and faster G4, G5, G6, G7 etc devices and implants that they can swipe their utterly banal lives through.
Siri ! wheres my breakfast!! Your busy!? How can that be? You’re G5!!!
In their self-delusionary bubble of Paradise, the Democrats do not see the poverty, suffering and pain that they are inflicting on others. These people who work and are exploited to service and supply the so-called ‘renewables’ do not fit into the Democrat’s World Vision and therfore can be safely excluded
Writers should not invent and generalise about this topic of small scale Cobalt mining in Africa. I have seen little evidence of materials that are toxic and (harmfully) radioactive. It is the old story of “show me the bodies”.
People who seek to increase their incomes by private enterprise are free to do so and should be encouraged. Show us the alleged detriment actually experienced by the players, not emotional fictional clap trap. Other people arrtact dislike from these tactics. Geoff S
The problem is that modern human and civil rights movement are often founded on higher quasi-moral… ethical ground and false premises.
Geoff, I know where you are coming from with this reaction. I know that your knowledge is from personal experience and that what you see is that the artisanal mines are the only way that most of these people can make a living.
I’m not sure that you have considered that things have changed since your personal observations. The pressures on these people to provide the materials that we need for renewables and batteries has only ramped up in relatively recent times. It is escalating at such a rapid rate that the Congolese themselves and also the refugees from neighboring countries are eager to take advantage of the available work. If you still think that it can work I wonder if you have taken into account that the level of corruption has increased with they greater sums of money to be made, at least for those who have even a little power.
We want the materials that can create the renewables that will cover a good part of the planet and do pretty much nothing and they can provide them. Does that make it right? We have established that there is nothing about renewables that will make a difference in regard to reducing emissions or providing reliable sustainable power. So based on what you are saying, we should continue to provide them with jobs that benefit ‘who’ in the long run? If the Green New Deal comes into affect, the materials would run out and the planet would be trashed, the world would be covered in renewables and we still wouldn’t attain the magical 100% renewable energy. What will have changed for these people? Wouldn’t the trillions we are spending be better spent toward educating these people, on giving them choices in life?
Education has only existed as an option for children in developing nations in relatively recent times. If we help them, if we teach them, they will have options.
It’s like looking at the situation of our farmers here in Australia after long periods of drought and suffering. Now, ten years ago and more, they had to suck it up. It has after all been a part of a farmers life in Australia since the time we set foot on this country. In recent times they are offered obscene amounts of money from renewables developers to get them out of their financial difficulties. This will, and this does, provide them with instant financial relief. But does that make it right? I would rather put our taxes toward helping struggling farmers directly, wouldn’t you.
They have immediately alienated themselves from their community, the damage to relationships, reduced value in neighboring properties, and trust me the mental health issues haven’t gone away, they’ve simply been transferred. This is a relatively new phenomenon but it’s growing, the visual pollution is a constant reminder of that feeling of impotence, that you have no choice, that you don’t matter. And then those that didn’t know, find out that it’s all a farce, that this infrastructure isn’t even fit for purpose. And to make matters worse they haven’t even given serious thought about what’s going to happen to it at end of life.
Geoff, you really shouldn’t try to justify a job that really shouldn’t exist, not for renewables, and especially if it does nothing to change the circumstances of these people for the better.
In regard to your accusations about ’emotional claptrap’, I came across a science paper recently about this very subject, the humanitarian issue that is. It was conducted by people from five universities, 3 from the UK, 1 from Denmark and 1 from France. They had permission for this study from the DRC and had police escorts. They listed the people and businesses, and they interviewed many people. It’s a very comprehensive study, over 19 pages including references and pretty much confirms this post.
Times change Geoff, sadly often for the worst.
I’ll give you the details to look up the paper. It’s a PDF and I can’t work out how to copy it to transfer it to this site. So, as follows,
“Elsevier” ‘The decarbonation divide: Contextualizing landscapes of low carbon exploitation and toxicity in Africa’.
I think it’s worth having a look at Geoff.
You said, “… you really shouldn’t try to justify a job that really shouldn’t exist, not for renewables, and especially if it does nothing to change the circumstances of these people for the better.”
Obviously, if there was an easier or better way to put food on the table they would do it. Your idealistic way of solving he problem overlooks the fact that they have to eat while changes are being made. Their actions are justified by feeding themselves and their children through the only opportunity afforded them at present.
The link to your article:
Interesting article if you just ignore the typical IPCC 2018 “business as usual”
and “justice” (social, environmental & energy) claptrap.
Thanks for the reference.
Thanks for sorting out a link for me Bill. The paper shows the quantities of materials required for a measure of energy output over different types of renewable power production. That chart alone should tell people it’s not sustainable.
The point is that much of it is sourced from developing countries. China does not care where it comes from or under what circumstances, as long as it’s cheap. They don’t even care about the degradation of their own people and environment. Why are we simply talking about the nasty humanitarian side of it and then turning our backs because we don’t want to deal with?
This post pretty much says what the science paper did. If you really think that what is happening in the developing world in regard to providing us with materials for a totally useless product is ‘claptrap’, then you are further denigrating these people.
At the end of the day it comes down to investment, power and greed. They are worried that people are starting to wake up to the scam and they’re turning up the CO2 control knob to justify ramping up production so they can part us of our money.
We give money to these developing countries a lot/year. We see how they use that money. The money goes to that leopard-hat dictator, who buys 60 Rolls-Royces to his wife(s), and people gets nothing.
We in developed countries have know-how to make a difference. We could go there and start working. There is plenty work force to do almost everything. We could build electricity and infrastructure for fresh water and sanitation. It would be easy, but we don´t do it. We give money.
There´s always money-blinded people, who want only the cherries from the cake. And they don´t care what are the costs from ethical point of wiew. It´s so easy to not see if there´s no will to look.
I´m with you Megs and humanity.
Thank you so much F1nn, your support means alot to me, and no doubt to the writer of this post. How hard is it to see that what is happening is wrong?
Our indigenous Australians have also suffered badly here in Australia too. A few decades ago we had an indigenous Australian, representing his own people, driving a Rolls Royce. They made noises and made changes, but corruption still prevents the first nation people of Australia from moving forward . Our indigenous Australians are entitled to free healthcare, education through to university, transport, and housing. If they are not employed, and in remote areas most aren’t, they also receive social benefits. They have been given rights to land that no one can enter except by invitation or, in the case of using a road to get from one point to another, a permit.
Large numbers of the children in remote areas don’t go to school, and so of course they have little command of the English language. There are 350 different languages spoken by our indigenous community, so us learning ‘Aboriginal’ is not going to work. Different communities also receive royalties from mining companies. More money is poured into our indigenous community than any other community members.
We are told time and time again that we are not doing enough to help our indigenous community. What is enough? Why is there so much violence? If we have no access or contact with those most in need, how can we help them, how can we even have a conversation with them? To me that says that it’s in the best interests of those who are corrupt to keep their people ignorant.
We need to have these conversations, we need to speak out, we need to let our politicians know that they must address these issues. We are having such conversations now, there is power in numbers.
I agree with you. I’m unaware of any radioactive minerals associated with the ‘cobalt’ (cobaltite?) The alarmists are probably confusing cobalt with the Rare Earth Element minerals.
Driessen’s claim “Many die in cave-ins, or more slowly from constant exposure to toxic, radioactive mud, dust, water and air that puts dangerous levels of cobalt, lead, uranium and other heavy metals into their bodies.” is unsubstantiated and over the top. Can he put a number on “many?” He is clearly operating outside is area of expertise and relying on progressive propaganda that he has not vetted.
Writers should not invent and generalise about this topic of small scale Cobalt mining in Africa. I have seen little evidence of materials that are toxic and (harmfully) radioactive. It is the old story of “show me the bodies”.
Something that is radioactive need not be harmful. Our own bodies cause agamma counter to jump ( but then, some of us ARE dangerous).
People who seek to increase their incomes by private enterprise like doing some digging instead of doing nothing much are free to do so and should be encouraged.
Show us the alleged detriment actually experienced by the players, not emotional fictional clap trap. Other writers pushing agendas attract dislike from these tactics. Geoff S
Four year old children should be digging in pits, moving dirt?
The parents can’t just drop their kids off at the local child care center, even if they had the money. So, they take them with them to their ‘job.’ Young kids are close to the ground and have good near vision so can spot pieces of ore that the adults might well miss. Everyone in the family has to work in order to survive. The situation might not be ideal, especially when seen through the lens of someone from a society where childhood is extended to give them an education, provide paying customers for the education industry, and keep them out of the job market for as long as possible.
Young kids are also killed in collapses of ground and other accidents, regardless of their good vision. This exploitation is wrong.
It is common for people to get more emotional about children dying than adults dying. That is likely the reason it is a central point claimed. However, all lives matter.
Do you have any reliable statistics on the number of people killed in artisanal cobalt mining, and the circumstances of their deaths? To put it into context, one should also look at the death rate of children from all causes in the region.
I’m sure that the artisanal miners see it as an opportunity to provide themselves and their children with more and better food, and avoid health issues related to lack of food, rather than exploitation. Purposely addicting people to drugs, loaning money at exorbitant rates, or selling necessary goods at exorbitant profits, are exploitation.
For most of human history, kids worked alongside adults pretty much as soon as they could walk.
This included going out into the bush to collect food, where they were vulnerable to attacks by wild animals.
This included working along dangerous farm animals.
It’s only been in the last century or so that the idea that children should learn and play rather than work has become standard in the West.
For those outraged at the idea of ‘children’ working in mines, there is a long history of employing children and young women, who didn’t have the strength of an adult male, for doing necessary menial labor. It was not uncommon for children (including females) as young as 8 to be employed in essentially the kind of work being criticized in DR. An instructive read is the following:
I remember once reading the diary of an 8-year old girl in Cornwall that detailed a life that was worse than a Mississippi chain gang. Unfortunately, I could not find it in a short search.
At least their Chinese overlords should install pit wall retaining barriers so as the earth slides don’t bury these poor kids and adults who can make make up to $2 a day digging for cobalt. That is the issue with mortality…not some poisonous brew of radioactivity or toxic waste of some kind. The digging is so primitive without any protection from the earth collapsing around them and many are buried alive. This would be a fairly simple fix. But the Chinese, who run and purchase much of the small scale cobalt hand mining have so little regard for life, that they won’t even do this. Children should be in school, not working all day for next to nothing for the luxury of the green disease in the West. The environmental movement is so hypocritical.
Who’s going to pay for those schools that the kids should be in?
Who’s gong to earn the money to feed those kids while they are in the schools?
Mark we have already spent trillions on renewables, and intend to spend so much more. Renewables are the ultimate symbol of the developed worlds throw away society. On what level is it OK to perpetuate this way of life for these people?
Instead of exploiting these people, why can’t we work toward educating the developed countries that there is no purpose for renewables. So then we can use this money to help the people in developing countries create industry and teach them to be teachers.
Wasn’t it the UN who claimed that we could lift the developing countries out of poverty through renewables?…..still waiting. Of course we know that the real situation is that it’s best to keep them in poverty we can make things for a significantly lower cost. The GND could well be on it’s way, useless ‘stuff’, and when we are ready to discard it, we send the worst of it back to them because it’s too hard for us to deal with. We are exploiting them.
The attitudes of many of the commenters on this subject is disgusting. I thought we were more grown up on this site. Isn’t science about refuting a post with information you can back up with references? I don’t understand the attack on the post?
These artisanal mines are not a cottage industry, they’re are a way for the Chinese to get these ores as cheaply as possible. And the growth of the renewables industry is putting more pressure on the local people. It’s a brutal and degrading way to scrape up enough money to eat and it’s driven by corruption and greed.
I honestly have no understanding of how you can support it.
Instead of trashing the writer of this post have a look at a science paper that backs him up. I have it in PDF form but if I give you the details and if you give a toss about what we’re doing to developing countries you can look it up. In fact I challenge you to do that, then come back to this post and refute it.
“ELSEVIER” ‘The decarbonation divide: Contextualizing landscapes of low carbon exploitation and toxicity in Africa’
This paper was conducted with the collaboration of five universities, 3 from the UK, 1 from Denmark and 1 from France.
You said, “These artisanal mines are not a cottage industry, they’re are a way for the Chinese to get these ores as cheaply as possible.” You complained about a lack of references, and then make an unsupported statement. My understanding of the situation is that there are large corporate mines with Chinese involvement. The bulk of the cobalt ore comes from them. However, as the grade of the ore becomes too low to process with machinery, the areas are abandoned. In the absence of mining activity, the poor people in the region move in to find the scraps left behind. Being valuable, ColTans and ‘cobalt’ find a ready Black Market.
Now, in an ideal world, the problem could be dealt with like so-called “Blood Diamonds” and the people could be kept from trespassing and stealing ore. They would then have their income cut off and have less to eat. Those with high moral standards such as yourself could easily step up and donate half of your income to support them. Or, you could just declare those with a better, realistic understanding of the situation are “disgusting.” It takes less sacrifice to insult someone than it does to do something about it personally.
Well Clyde, firstly please don’t accuse me of making platitudes that I can’t back up. Please read the link below, to a science paper collaborated on by 5 universities. It pretty much backs up most of the post here that you are criticising. My point was, it’s wrong to trash the post out of hand without giving a good reason as to why you don’t agree. Well, I’m presenting you with a science document that for me confirms that this post is exposing injustices that must be dealt with. Please feel free to refute it in a civilised manner.
Secondly, I would prefer that you didn’t imply that I make these platitudes and do nothing personally to make a difference.
I don’t know how easy you might think it is to stop a commercial industrial Solar Installation, I don’t think too many people have.
WELL I FOUGHT FOR A YEAR AGAINST A DA FOR A SOLAR INSTALLATION AND WON THE BATTLE!
I have mentioned this two or three times over the past few days and only one regular contributor to this site said well done. The whole reason I stuck with this site was the respect I was given and the quality of the information. I know the difference between a post that has been presented to debate and when it’s obvious trash. I learned that when the subject is beyond me I step back. You know very little about me Clyde so please don’t make assumptions about the sort of person I am.
The planned solar installation would have been 600 meters from town and a large part of the research I did was from this site and I worked bloody hard to help stop it from happening. I stuck my neck out and this win brought personal losses to me in the process, but I could not sit back and let it happen.
Education is a good first step, and there are a lot of agencies trying to provide education.
In the mean time they still need to feed their families.
You said, “WELL I FOUGHT FOR A YEAR AGAINST A DA FOR A SOLAR INSTALLATION AND WON THE BATTLE!” Congratulations for having accomplished something. Time will tell if it was a significant accomplishment.
However, the point of contention is whether the claims about child labor and deaths are an exaggeration, and whether or not the people have an alternative to artisanal mining. AND, whether your complaints about claims of unreferenced statements are hypocritical. AND, whether you “Walk the talk” when it comes to your hand wringing about the the plight of the poor in the DR Congo. Impractical ‘solutions,’ to what those in the industrialized world see as undesirable situations, are little more than grand standing.
I think everyone on this thread is correct…Megs, Clyde, Mark, Geoff, Scissor, maybe even me. The Democratic Republic of the Congo has an estimated $24 Trillion in natural resources, and they have always been in a source of conflict, even long before the Euro colonization such as what the Belgians did in this case. But before that, it was African slave traders and internal African interests that had been ripping off the Congolese. And it is their own primal tribalism that is the root form of failure. Which is unfortunate since they have so much potential to develop successfully, if not for their tribalism and outsider meddling because they do have so many resources ripe for the picking. The Chinese spot this instantly, and are in there like dirty shirts, which is a shame that the Chinese will also now colonize the Congolese and also rip it off.
There is enough raw wealth in the DRC to allow for children to be educated, which is something we should be supporting. They can afford to pay for it, since they are one of the richest nations on the good Earth from a natural resources point of view. The need assistance in sorting themselves out politically and societally, and that has been their downfall. And a lack of local honest leadership that isn’t corrupt, and sell out to the highest bidder which is now China. Glencore is a British multinational commodity trading and mining company with headquarters in Baar, Switzerland which owns the Mutanda mine, is located in Katanga province in the DRC and industrially, it is one of the larger corporate mines (amongst others) that supply a lot of the Cobalt to the world. The local folk are just trying to make a living on the lower grade scraps that don’t fit into a larger mine footprint. They have to eat, and there is not many schools, yet. It is a dirty rotten shame that things don’t improve there with the wealth they do have.
Earthling2 thank you for your balanced response. I too understand that these people just want to work. The children are raised as an issue, not for emotional impact but because it is an issue. Children should not be working in the mines, without an education they don’t have choices.
A reference to a United Nations link was put out by another site last week. It was regarding this very issue, unfortunately I think the site had been taken down, I couldn’t open it.
We have been writing to politicians and journalists for a year now, we intend to make appointments with our local Members of Parliament in the very near future. It’s difficult to get their attention about any negative aspects of renewables but we have been pushing the ‘cradle to grave’ aspects. The only thing people here know about them is that they appear in the landscape.
Now that we’ve had this win against the commercial solar project we can further expand on the details.
If the alternative is for the family to not have enough money to feed everyone, what would you have family do?
So why boycott or keep stores from getting their products from sweatshops?
PS It would be “evil fossil fuel”.
“PS It wouldn’t</b" be “evil fossil fuel”.
PS It wouldn’t be “evil fossil fuel”.
This comment was misplaced and a typo to boot!
Then I corrected the misplaced comment’s typo.
(been awhile since I messed up this bad!)
First rule of holes?
Thank you for actually going to the trouble to find some sources of information.
It isn’t a surprise that uranium minerals are found in DR Congo because it used to supply France with ore. Indeed a notable outcome was the discovery that in Precambrian times there was a natural nuclear reactor at Oklo that depleted the U-235 isotope in the uranium ore.
You cite, “Ore mined in the region habitually has trace amounts of…” “Trace Amounts” is ambiguous and may or may not be of concern. Granites and related granodiorites, and sediments derived from them, contain trace amounts of zircon, which have uranium in them. Yet, except for radon accumulations in basements, there is little concern about the ‘trace uranium.’ But, it makes for good newspaper copy to scare the uninformed.
Yes, the commercial copper and cobalt mines have a complex mineralogy, and surprisingly, they apparently weren’t monitoring for radioactivity. However, a single shipment with high levels of radioactivity does not mean that radioactivity is always present. The pictures that I have seen suggest that the artisanal miners are working soil and sediments for the insoluble cobaltite, which has largely been separated from the primary and secondary (soluble) uranium minerals by weathering. So, there may be intermittent risk, but I don’t think the Reuters has made a compelling case that it is a constant or significant risk. There is a lot of hand waving with weasel words.
The respiratory disease cited is from refined cobalt (not the ore) and is a potential occupational hazard for people who have chronic exposures from activities such as grinding cobalt-alloy tool steel. This is a red herring! It is akin to claiming that table salt is dangerous because it contains the poisonous gas chlorine.
“… alarming radioactivity levels in some mining regions.” The operative word here is “some.” This is an attempt at implied ‘guilt’ by association. If there was good evidence that the association with cobalt ore was as dangerous as being implied, they could come right out and provide the evidence, and not obliquely suggest it.
This is almost as good as the climate alarmist predictions of the future based on “could, would, might, maybe, etc.”
Yes I agree.
My answer was in reply to people inferring that cobalt in the Congo was not found with some radioactive material — SOME of it is. The problem is that those places that have radioactive contamination is poorly identified, and there is no method to prevent some of the workers being contaminated with it. IMO these two points should be rectified.
I’m sure that if this was coal mining then the Lefty-Green outcry would be overwhelming but as it is for the EV vehicles the hypocritical Lefty-Green blob is just about silent.
Congo has a great amount of cobalt and surely it should be mined in a safe way, a way which ensures that the people of the Congo get some of the benefit and are kept safe as possible.
You said, “The problem is that those places that have radioactive contamination is poorly identified, and there is no method to prevent some of the workers being contaminated with it.”
The history of the discovery of Shinkolobwe provides a clue. A prospector heard about local tribes using brightly colored (green) minerals for decorative purposes. The prospector thought that it might be copper carbonate. It turned out that it was secondary oxidation products of uranium. The artisanal cobalt miners are looking for cattierite (cobalt sulfide) a grey, metallic mineral in a host of white calcite. They need to be made aware that the green minerals should be avoided.
Although, I doubt that it is the hazard it is made out to be. When I was about 12 years old, I was grinding up radioactive carnotite in the hopes of extracting yellow cake. Fortunately, I didn’t know what was meant by leaching at that age, and avoided making something that was more concentrated. The point being, I was handling many pieces of radioactive carnotite and undoubtedly breathing the dust from what I was grinding up in a mortar. I have lived a long healthy life with no apparent effects from careless exposure to radioactive dust.
Clyde you didn’t respond to the link that I sent you. Yet you’ve done nothing but insult me.
At least give me some credit, at least scroll down and read my response to Geoff. I am not as ignorant as you presume me to be, that you keep spouting to the world that I am.
I am not trashing mining or miners.
Papers that use terms such as “energy injustice” aren’t worth my time for comment.
Thanks so much for the extra information by way of the links Tom, it will be useful.
For you to ponder over —
“That’s just California. According to Cambridge University Emeritus Professor of Technology Michael Kelly, replacing all the United Kingdom’s vehicles with next-generation EVs would require more than half the world’s annual production of copper; twice its annual cobalt; three quarters of its yearly lithium carbonate output; and nearly its entire annual production of neodymium.”
But again, the left doesn’t want the average Joe (oooh, is that whiteist?) to own a car. So all the numbers are moot, as far as they’re concerned.
The Left won’t stop until Europe and North America are on par with North Korea.
Cars for me, Buses for thee.
Neither birds, nor bats, nor plants matter; but, rather environmentalism, the Green Blight, and Some, Select Black Lives Matter is a Pro-Choice quasi-religious (“ethical”) sect.
You would really think then that the Green Shirts are totally in favor of lots of new copper mining, cobalt extraction in the Congo, and other such Rare Earths, which aren’t so rare, and then require even more of all this to make the solar panels and windmills and EV’s x a billion. Something doesn’t add up, cause non of the Green Shirts support mining either, which relies on fossil fuels to operate. So what gives…is there a dichotomy going on here in the supposed environmental movement?
Alcohol. Almost a direct replacement for petrol, and in use for decades in Brazil. Big factories using GM plankton to produce high sugar loads, GM yeast to generate high sugar yields, and a still, sited in sunny parts of the world.
The factory would consist of massive glass tubes exposing the soup of plankton to the sun, fermentation vats, and an alcohol distillery.
VW and Fiat have been making cars for the Brazilian market for decades, modern cars can also handle the fuel (some European fuel is 50% alcohol) too.
Why? We have an abundance of cheap fossil fuels.
You mean ethanol. And the Brazilians clear cut 20,000,000 acres of the Amazon to grow their sugarcane. Nothing is free in life.
Fermenting sugars gives off CO2. Circular argument?
Burning alcohol does a pretty good job of releasing CO2 as well.
Why? If we wanted to stop using fossil fuels.
We might decide we want to keep the oil for other industrial uses for example. Alcohol is a good replacement.
Assuming we don’t have cheap abundant fossil fuels for decades to come, (which we do and why this isn’t necessary yet) why not in 50-100 years use advanced gen nuclear to generate massive amounts of cheap electricity to be the energy feedstock to create synthetic fuels? It’s old proven tech, but even to do that oil would be have to be north of ~$250 a barrel to break even, assuming all this isn’t subsidized and therefore massively distorted? Solar, either PV panels, or using photosynthesis is fairly low energy density per acre and there is far better uses for that land. Like growing food, timber or even wine and hops for beer. That’s real alcohol too. Or just for wild natural places for wildlife and biodiversity, which is required too.
IMHO, carbon based fuels are here for the long term foreseeable future for the next 1000 years, (fossil fuels or synthetic fuels) but only when the price of fossil fuels becomes so expensive, will this even be necessary that we have to create synthetic fuels or syngas out of long chain carbon molecules, which we can duplicate any product we want that we presently use fossil fuels for. The infrastructure we have in place, of which we will need more like pipelines, will be used for centuries to come.
But let’s not give up on fossil fuels for the scientific lie that CO2 is pollution and bad for the planet. We are heading for a doubling of CO2 from 1850 levels, and what we might want to try and figure out, is what is the ideal concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere? I think long term, after we double to 560 ppmv, we will inevitably start dropping back down and there is probably an ideal amount of CO2 in the atmosphere, that is primarily beneficial for the biosphere. Probably 450-500 ppmv might be the ideal concentration, but who really knows yet? We already know CO2 isn’t the control knob for the climate, so our plan has to be ensuring the planet has enough CO2 in the atmosphere and not fall to dangerous extinction levels like during ice ages, when CO2 is barely high enough to sustain life itself.
There is a lot of useless land (most of Spain for example) and we have more food than we need, so I dont see food production as any kind of limitation.
It is an option, it is a choice, it is feasible and very doable with what we have today. There are of course other options, each has it’s merit. THat is all.
If oil ever became scarce enough that we needed to reserve what was left for industrial uses, then we could find substitutes for those industrial uses.
The idea that only petroleum can be used for those processes is nonsense.
What would the Enviros say if we went back to hunting sperm whales for their oil?
Would probably provide more jobs than the oil industry does.
I’ve been to Brazil three times and the pollution there from burning ethanol as fuel is horrendous.
So far the yeast and bacteria don’t exist. Much less the plant required to process them.
Let me know when a commercial sized plant is up and running, then tell me what the costs are gong to be.
Brazil uses sugar cane to make alcohol. The sugar in sugar cane is concentrated enough to make this viable, so long as labor remains cheap.
Just because it works in Brazil is not evidence that it will be economical elsewhere. Just because the cars have been adjusted to not be destroyed by high levels of alcohol is not evidence that it is a good idea to run cars on alcohol.
Of course the yeast exists. What are you talking about? It has been used for millenia to make alcohol.
GM plankton that produce high sugars also exists.
And dont forget race cars often use alcohol. It is a perfectly good fuel.
“The world’s top producer of cobalt is the Democratic Republic of Congo, where some 40,000 children as young as four toil with their parents for less than $2 a day up to 12 hours a day. Many die in cave-ins, or more slowly from constant exposure to toxic, radioactive mud, dust, water and air that puts dangerous levels of cobalt, lead, uranium and other heavy metals into their bodies. The cobalt ore is sent to China for processing by the Chinese-owned Congo Dongfang International Mining Company. That’s just to meet current raw material requirements. Try to picture the raw material demands, Third World mining and child labor conditions, and ecological destruction, under the Green New Deal. ”
This is a popular argument against renewable energy but the issue is more complicated than what is presented here.
Thanks once again for sharing important info.
Alcohol abuse causes cirrhosis of the engine and I understand, its production is less energy-efficient than oil.
Brazil’s policy was politically-driven and probably seemed like a good idea at the time.
So is the electrocution of the vehicle fleet – ideology prevents a detailed look at the consequences.
They’ll probably get all hand-wringy once the damage is already done.
Brazil’s production is a workfare scheme. Paying the otherwise unemployed & thus potentially riotous peasants, to farm sugarcane.
I was watching something on French TV this morning, where someone was bemoaning the loss of biodiversity in France. I spend quite a lot of time cycling roind rural Limousin. Over the last five years the changes here have been dramatic. Old woods have been cleared and replaced by windturbines, small fields with ancient hedgerows with cows and sheep, (Limousin is famous for both) have been converted into huge fields of Maize and Sunflowers for bio-fuel. new farm buildings with solar-PV rooves. The fields of maize are cropped twice once with maize and once with some sort of winter cereal possibly rye.
Not doing a lot for bio-diversity as far as I can see.
Matthew Sykes. Ah, the magic microbes ploy. Try going from bench scale to industrial at a scale capable of meeting the needs of energy-hungry society. Even this technology, like wind, solar and conventional biofuels, depends on low energy density solar input. Calculate the sheer mass of glass tubes distributed across tens of thousands of km2, all sheltered in massive, protective greenhouses, accompanied by huge processing facilities and using tremendous quantities of process water, yielding copious quantities of contaminated wastewater to be treated and disposed. Where in Brazil or anywhere would you do this without wreaking ecological devastation? Cost? Many $trillions. Time to deploy? Decades. Just another green energy fantasy. Variants of this have been proposed and lab tested for many years by university researchers. If viable and cost competitive, we would already see major facilities in operation proving their worth.
Brazil does this already with sugar cane.
I note your use of the pejorative word ‘magic’ though, nice twist, nice bias, I can see you are open minded. /sarcasm 😉
Black Lves Matter is a cash collection vehicle that depends upon 1) an ignorant public and 2) Whites who for some reason feel guilty because of their race – an indication of racism. The demonstrable fact is that BLM is pushing the biggest lie of all : that Blacks should fear the insignificant ations of a few White cops against Black criminas, when they should ignore the tens of thousands of innocent Blacks murdered by felow Blacks. BLM is today;s version of the Ku Klux Klan, only more deceitfull.
Well, here’s my take on this. Won’t take long, either.
Vehicles using carbon-based fuels (oil or alcohol) – fuel stations are all over the place, per Gas Buddy’s map
Hybrid vehicles – haven’t seen a lot of those around here, but they don’t advertise themselves
Electric vehicles – charging stations are all over the place per Plug In America, unless you get out in farmland, but that’s true of gas stations, also
If the issue is mining for the rare earths and the Chinese are doing their usual stingy thing with wages, and it’s a nasty polluting business, anyway, then maybe we should just go back to landlines and walkie-talkies. But that would inconvenience the False Gods of Government and the Ecohippies, wouldn’t it? Cobalt is a rare earth? Really? I have two cobalt spheres in my library (OK, it’s really an extra bedroom, eat your heart out) and a bunch of other stuff like that. I use cobalt blue in oil paints and pastels, and it’s even in watercolor paint, never mind the paints for housing that you can get at the hardware store.
Using cheap labor to get “The Gold” or whatever it happens to be is NOT something new. It’s been going on for millennia. If you want to stop it then stop buying all those electronic toys and go back to driving a horse hitched to a buggy.
And if it’s so important to let the whole world know how rapacious this whole business is, then why is anyone here using a computer that uses these materials? I’m referring to laptops, desktops, “books”, handheld electronic junk, etc. Why not go back to using electric typewriters or even better, MANUAL typewriters, pecking out your complaint on those keys, and mail the original to an editor some place???
And instead of using a copier, which also uses some of those rare earths in its programming, use carbons to make duplicate copies.
Or better yet, simply type extra copies or stop being a lazy twit and grab the quill and ink bottle and write it out in longhand.
Oh, wait – that’s going back to the Stone Age of literary endeavors. What an inconvenience that would be! Especially with the US Post Office cutting back on overtime for its workers and the personnel losses to a Chinese bat flu virus that has jumped to humans.
I used to do typesetting. Didn’t learn on the old clackety-clack Mergenthaler which used molten lead to create the copy. I used a Compugraphic, which was one of the next steps after the Mergenthaler, which was the next step after putting hand-set blocks of type in wooden boxes, with slugs of lead (called LEADING, for the uninformed) between the lines of type and between sentences and words. That kind of thing was a massive skill, and necessary for the printed newspaper industry. Movable type…. those were the days, indeed.
If you really want all that horrible, horrible stuff to stop, then you have to be willing to live like they did in the 18th century or earlier, and I do not believe even one person – including all those “deeply concerned” Greenbeaners and ecohippies – is willing to do that.
I have no desire at all to live in a one-room cabin with a big old fireplace that heats that one room and cooks my food. And no indoor bathroom, either. You washed up in the sink or in a small metal tub. It’s nice to see some people making an effort to keep alive those skills from Days Gone Bye-Bye, but give me the name of one single person in the current crop of butthurt ecohippies who is willing to give up all those electronic toys and other crap and move back to the 18th century permanently. Just one.
It’s a shame that the Renaissance Faires were shut down this summer, because I was looking forward to it this year, but there is NOT ONE of those vendors or attendees who is willing to give up modern civilization with all its polluting electronic toys and move back to Them There Olden Times. NOT ONE.
I will repeat – if you want to stop these obnoxious labor abuses and obvious pollution that go with them, then YOU have to stop buying all that electronic crap. I do not think there is even one complainer, on either side of the environmental fence, who is willing to do that. Period.
No one is arguing the stance you take Sara, it’s the unnecessary renewables that are what we can do without, and if the Green New Deal comes in things will get worse for developing countries unnecessarily. We do not ‘need’ renewables or EV’s!
No argument from me, Megs. The only way to stop it is to take their toys away from them and put them back in the Stone Age of communication, in my view. If they turn a blind eye to what they are doing that makes it worse, that is their curse.
“Why don’t these lives matter?”
They aren’t being killed by white cops, so their deaths can’t be used to feed the agenda.
Best comment so far.
“a ton of nuclear waste”? Bull$hit. Chemical processes can result in the extraction & concentration of naturally occurring radioactive material, but they don’t produce “nuclear waste”.
Highlighting the exploitation of those people is laudable. Adding propaganda isn’t.
Bugger. No way to edit the above remark.
The article actually said “radioactive waste”, which is true in a sense. Except that it’s all naturally occurring and was in the ground anyway.
Just thought you might want to know. This post does not play on parler
using android tablet app
The Beach Boys didn’t sing about this.
Here in the UK, it has just come to light (why not ages ago..??) that clothing factories in Leicester (that’s pronounced ‘Lester’ for our friends in the US) were paying less than half the legal minimum wage to ‘South Asians’ to produce clothes for the likes of BooHoo, etc…
Why no outcry from ‘Black Lives Matter’..? Is it because these people are not ‘black’ enough – or that the factory owners are themselves from the same region..?
Silly question. Those children die so that smug liberals can preen and demonstrate their virtue. A cheap price for them to pay so that progressives can feel good about themselves.
Because black lives don’t matter to anyone in the political left. Look how many have been aborted in America since 1974.
The mining sector is fascinating and productive. It can give you involvement in much more than digging a hole in the ground. For example, a fair slice of one 20-year term for me involved aboriginal relations. We had arrived in a fairly unpopulated area in 1970 or so and set out to get on with the locals, who gained substantial advantages from our presence.
Then, as now, decades later, the children of many aborigines who choose not to integrate with the wider community, can lead horrible lives. Alcohol and drugs can affect the family, the whole community. Violence is not uncommon. Sex acts with youngsters have been reported.
We, the miners, did not try to make matters worse for the locals. We tried our beat to improve their plight, but we met with wave after wave of bureaucrats who, in hindsight, knew not much about what they were supposed to do and created more chaos and suffering with strange, experimental rules.
Before you all weep false tears for the youngsters in Africa, think closer to home. There are matters involving children far more widespread and just as harmful as anything spoken about above.
Do not blame the miners with your knee-jerk actions. Do not blame the chemicals that are mined, we know extremely well about their safe handling. We know far more than the gossip of onlookers. Blame yourselves for letting abuse of remote youngsters happen on your watch. Geoff S
Geoff, I knew you were from a mining background. I know and sympathised with what’s happening to the indigenous community here in Australia and we have agreed with each other in past threads. I touched on the plight of our indigenous Australians on ‘this’ thread, scroll up to Meg August 10, 2020 at 4:32.
I understand now why (from this comment) those of you who have long been involved in mining have come out on the offensive, and actually feeling that you need be on the defense.
This post was ‘not’ about attacking mining. You know yourself that there are practices even in here in Australia that are less than ideal, and you have expressed such. This post was stating that this needs to be addressed. You and Clyde may know all about it, and it feels like you are coming from a place of “He’s talking BS”
But there are many people who haven’t even considered where renewables come from, that there are large amount of mining involved, and this mining has humanitarian issues that need to be looked at. This post is to educate those who are not aware of these things because people like me will send it on to others.
If, heaven forbid, the Green New Deal were to go ahead, people need to be aware of the extent of harm being done on an humanitarian level and on an ecological scale too. Renewables are a scam, they are not only unnecessary they are causing harm. That’s what this blog was about. It was not a blog about trashing the mining industry.
Just as an aside, I live in a mining town. This town was born out of mining. It’s an old gold rush town that started in the late 1800’s. It’s still a mining town, although these days we mine for coal. Trust me, I’ve gone out on the defensive too in regard to the justification of coal mining. Many of my neighbors are miners, good honest people.
We chose to live in this mining town two years ago which coincided with the building of the Beryl Solar plant, we didn’t know anything about it till after we signed the contracts. It was the second largest in the state at the time 87mw and covering 310 hectares, that was done and dusted. At that stage I knew nothing about renewables, this solar plant was only 4 kilometers away so I thought it was time to educate myself. A year later when the DA application went in for a 16 hectare commercial solar installation I ramped up the research. It might have been smaller but at 600 meters from town it was a huge fire risk. That was just one of the reasons we put before the panel last week, risk of contamination was another, lack of benefit to the community among others. The application was rejected 4 nil.
The Central West Region has been declared a Renewable Energy Zone. Wellington is not too far from us, a massive Solar Plant is going up there now, less than a kilometre from their town. A new proposal has been put forward for a 1,000 hectare Solar Plant 7 kilometers from our home, with another 800 hectares in the pipeline to go in next to the existing solar plant at Beryl 4 kilometers away.
So you see my fight is not over, and you’ll see the irony in this. This whole area is where the mines are, you likely know that, if all the intended renewables go into the Central West regions many of the mines will close. There are not really any jobs in renewables, almost none after installation. If this happens our towns will die! Google Gulgong, have a look at why this is important to me, to my community, and neighboring communities.
Much of what I have learned about the dark side of renewables was from posts like this one. That is why I felt so strongly about defending this information.
In regard to our Australian indigenous community, I found a friend in a full blood Walpiri woman who lives in the Aboriginal communities in Alice Springs. I have mentioned her before on this site. She is the most extraordinary women I know. She and her husband teach non Aboriginals about their culture. We were in Alice Springs for 7 weeks, I learned so much in that time and I consider them both friends. We know about the problems of the outback communities, while we were there a two year old boy was raped by a family member up at Tennant Creek, our friend’s sister was murdered a few years back and another of her sister’s disappeared over a decade ago never to be found. A few weeks ago another of their family members was beaten into a coma. Our friends daughter is fighting to get the truth out there, she has had death threats against her over years! She was recently driven out of Alice Springs!
My indignation about trashing this post did not come from a place of ignorance.
You know that things aren’t ideal in regard to humanitarian issues, but if we don’t speak up, things will never change.
No one is blaming miners.
That’s all now folks, you can put the popcorn away, I’m done trying to defend myself.
Mods I am most upset that my contribution to this topic was discarded. From having read most of the comments, I believe I am the only one who has had considerable experience with artisanal mining and on two continents. And certainly, I’m superior in my knowledge on the topic to the article’s author.
One of my duties with the Geological Survey of Nigeria was to assist artisanal miners (family scale and community scale) to explore and develop their mining projects, to organize production for efficiency and safety, to improve their methods of concentration of the valued minerals, etc. and this was in the 1960s. Along with a Polish metallurgist I was also a founder of the Nigerian School of Mines, where I taught geology and mining to artisanal mining folk.
My main take was that Paul Driessen’s ‘outrage’ on children in mining is sourced from the same kinds of NGOs that have corrupted climate science and retarded economic development in the Third World. There are of course abuses and negligence, and with the Hutu massacre of Tutsis (Rwanda, Burundi and in eastern Congo where Tutsis illegally mined and Hutu took over) there was slavery and cruelty in the famous Coltan deposits. However, overall these industrious families live considerably better than the average. Actually, up to early 20th century, children labored in horrible conditions in Europe and North America and children around the world still work on family farms.
I also worked with artisanal miners in northern Benin in evaluations of gold and placer gold, and more recently undertook an evaluation of a large area in Minas Gerais for lithium, almost all the operations of which are by ‘garimpeiros’ – often family scale. These people have all been insulted.
It’s to late for people on this thread to get this valuable input but hopefully you will see what was missed.
Gary I’m sorry you weren’t in the conversation earlier too, we might have had some enlightened conversation. I have read dozens of articles regarding the conditions in mining in developing countries. One of them was a science paper. This paper was pretty comprehensive, and current. It pretty much confirmed what other articles were reporting.
It sounds to me like you did really good work during your time there. I would love to think that all this was BS and that it is really as you describe things. That was sixty years ago Gary. Is it possible? Do you have any way of finding out what things are really like in these mines now? Maybe you still have network contacts?
If you can find out that in the main artisanal mining is still conducted in they same way that it was when you were involved I will apologise on this site for being so insistent. Remember though, I would seriously be happy if it is nothing like what is described in this post. But however it is now, it’s only going to get a whole lot worse with fools scrambling to meet the Paris agreement, whatever that is these days.
I have never put so much into a debate, and I am not against miners or mining. I am well travelled and I know that living conditions in developing countries or even communities within Australia are vastly different to ours. You would know that if you read my last post here. I could never support the level of degradation that this science paper has concluded. I would love to think that you could show me it’s all a lie.
I’ll include the link here, so you know where I’m coming from. I think it would be fair of me to ask you to read it through.
The core of the problem is poverty. Artisanal or free-lance mining is common throughout the world with people trying to find jade in Asia, mining gold in the Amazon and New Guinea, coltans and ‘cobalt’ in DRC, and diamonds. De Beers formerly had a monopoly on diamonds, which was largely broken with the discovery of diamonds in Russia and Australia. However, De Beers still has a vested interest in controlling mining in Africa. Hence the success of the “Blood Diamond” campaign to reduce the value of African diamonds not under the control of De Beers.
Thanks Clyde, I understand that people anywhere will do just about anything out of need, or greed. I’ve been to a few developing countries and deliberately travelled by their public transport, or hung off the back of a ute with the locals and explored places that tourists don’t go to.
I also understand that these people chose to mine, that they can make more money doing this than any other type of work that they would normally do. That $2 a day is more than they could otherwise earn.
My point is that with the production of solar, wind and EV’s growing at the rate they are and the the fact that it’s all about the dollar, the pressure on the artisanal miners and the recyclers is too great, it’s just growing too fast.
The dynamics are different now than they were 50 years ago, refugees are seeking work too, they have no support network and speak different languages. The corruption is rife, the few rules that are in place are ignored for bribes. Miners are not being paid fair prices for working ten hours plus a day, they are cheated at the scales, the women working in mines are paid far less than the men. They know the risks, they see what can and is happening all around them, but the money is still better than what they can otherwise earn.
Renewables are pushing these mines for cheap materials and it’s only going to get worse. I can’t imagine what the landscape looks like in these areas today compared to 50 years ago, and what it will look like in 5 or 10 years time from now. They do not benefit from all this, and we don’t have to suffer the consequences, we even send the dead renewables back to them as though are useful.
I know that in the past children used to work in the mines in the UK and Europe, and that they worked long hours. But at some point we decided, this isn’t right, enoughs enough. We stopped it, children went to school and became educated. That decision gave them choices.
I just wonder Clyde who’s going to say enoughs enough for these children, and when will be the right time? There are obscene amounts of money being made in the name of ‘clean’ energy, is no one willing to give up any of it?
I have a constant reminder of all these renewables cradle to gave issues 4 kilometers away. No one will tell me if they’re safe. No one will tell me that if they are damaged by hail, storms or fire if 310 hectares of thin film solar panels are a risk to our soil and waterways. The local fire brigade have already told us that if there was a fire there they would let it burn, that even if they could fight it the toxic fumes would make it far too dangerous. Do you know what a conversation like that feels? We live here! Can you imagine being told that there are 1800 hectares planned or proposed and you have no say in it? It’s bloody overwhelming! I know you’ve heard this before but I really do fear the legacy we are leaving future generations. So much of it is ending up in landfill.
It’s like the new asbestos. My father-in-law died an agonising death at 52 years of age of asbestosis, they thought that was a wonderful product to.
What are we doing? There is nothing positive about wind turbines, solar panels or EV’s, wasted resources, wasted lives, future risks, even the emissions are increased, because of them. I don’t believe that CO2 is going end the world or humanity. All this, for what? To prove how clever we are?
I am scared for our future, I am overwhelmed by just how wrong this is, all of it. All out of greed, all out of, power and control. It’s not even about clean air or a healthy future, I know where it’s going and I’m astounded at the level of ignorance in the general population, and how gullible they are.
I won’t be commenting on WUWT anymore, at least for a while, except to respond to people on recent posts. I was deprived of a voice for so long, and there are so many injustices in the world that I have felt the need to speak out and I know that I am more than just a tad verbose. Besides that, it’s doing my head in.
I sincerely hope that Donald Trump wins this upcoming election, or we’re all screwed.