Part 11 of a series on the Pebble Project.
By MARK HAMILTON
The Fraser Institute Annual Survey of mining companies looked at 2,700 exploration, development, and other mining related companies around the world. Their findings consider mineralization and policy perception. They compile an overall investment attractiveness index. The mineralization looks at what’s there, and the policy perception is a judgment on the “hospitality” of the regulations, taxes etc.
Investors report that 40 percent of their investment decision is determined by policy perception.
Assessment of mineralization puts Alaska as the fifth most desirable in the world. We have the minerals.
But assessment of policy perception is not so good. We rank 29th, about six spots above Botswana. Comments include “in Alaska, science is determined at the voting booth.” The report notes that frequent ballot initiatives concern investors.
This is not good for a resource development state. We must have what is seen to be a level playing field, that is, if you can demonstrate that your project is compatible with the environment, you will get a permit.
Besides the every-two years initiatives that target resource development, there are warnings about “foreign companies.” I have confronted those concerns with “shhh, don’t want to have BP hear you (whoops, too late on that one), or Holland America, or Royal Dutch Shell.
Come on, people. Do you understand that the four richest families in Alaska could not build a mine. You must have investors. Calling out Northern Dynasty as a “foreign investor” is nearly laughable. It’s Canada, not China. Would you feel differently if you knew that 60 percent of the stock is owned by Americans? Probably not, because the whole point of “foreign investor” is to create some sort of xenophobic caution.
Nothing is out of bounds for the opponents of development. Some are just in it for money, so they know no bounds. Others, believing they are pursuing the “greater good” excuse themselves from decency; it’s OK to lie, to sell fear, to put out completely unfounded assertions because saving the environment is the greater good. Saving the environment is certainly good; but lying to save it should not be excused.
Purposefully making people afraid should not be excused. There is a process to determine the environmental impacts. We’ve talked about it, the NEPA process. Find out what those impacts are, what the values of the project are; then decide the greater good.
Don’t let them Pebble you again!