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17 comments

Commerce vs. Food: Who Wins?

Posted December 13, 2010 7:00 AM

The Pebble Mine, a proposed open pit gold and copper mine possibly worth as much as $500 billion, would be sited in the watershed of Alaska's Bristol Bay, home to one of the largest sockeye salmon fisheries. At a time that fisheries worldwide are at risk, should we take the chance that the mine won't contaminate waters or trigger runaway development? On the other hand, can we afford to let such a profound mineral resource lie fallow?

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Anonymous Poster
#1

Re: Commerce vs. Food: Who Wins?

12/13/2010 10:49 PM

Given the bad news that keeps coming on the fish in the Gulf, that salmon might become more valuable than gold. (or not). Having said that, since when has lust for gold not outweighed all other concerns.

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Guru
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#2

Re: Commerce vs. Food: Who Wins?

12/14/2010 3:45 AM

This is a complex issue, with partisans in Alaska on both sides. In the past I have been involved in the Bristol Bay salmon fishery, which is a remarkable resource that should be preserved rather than threatened.

And mining is also a valuable resource, not only of raw materials but also of jobs.

These objectives, both desirable, might come into conflict, but good long-term planning can prevent (or mitigate) that. I am not up to speed on all the details, but a good way to go about this would be some stringent limitations on pollutive releases, prior approval of the means to prevent/contain such releases, and then approval for a well conceived plan.

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Guru

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#3
In reply to #2

Re: Commerce vs. Food: Who Wins?

12/14/2010 7:20 AM

In considering this, people should be aware of the processes and hazards of gold and copper mining--the practice of (heap or pit) leaching in both processes using cyanides or sulfuric acid, and the other minerals typically associated with (especially gold) like mercury, arsenic, cadmium, lead, etc.

Two articles I found on a quick search:

  • Tarnishing the Earth: Gold Mining's Dirty Secret: http://ehp.niehs.nih.gov/docs/2001/109-10/focus.html
  • Copper Mining Info: http://www.mine-engineer.com/mining/copperm.htm
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Power-User

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#4
In reply to #3

Re: Commerce vs. Food: Who Wins?

12/14/2010 9:08 AM

I have seen by my own eyes what mercury can do to a whole village when a gold mine was opened up in Japan, the effects were horendous, still births, metally ill children, and highly deformed children and adults!

Of course there is one way of doing beating these problems, any fish farms in the area can be moved to another location, that way the fish will not become highly contaminated. The other way is to forget mining for gold and copper at the moment, or pay for the fish farms to be moved?

Xanasax

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Guru

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#5
In reply to #4

Re: Commerce vs. Food: Who Wins?

12/14/2010 9:24 AM

Good post, but I don't think Bristol Bay can be characterized as having fish farms that can be moved somewhere else. This is indeed a bay, the eastern-most arm of the Bering Sea.

I had to look up fishery to be sure--according to Wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fishery):

"According to the FAO, a fishery is typically defined in terms of the "people involved, species or type of fish, area of water or seabed, method of fishing, class of boats, purpose of the activities or a combination of the foregoing features"."

I guess a fishery could be a farm, but my understanding is that in Alaska, the fisheries are just areas in the Bay--moving the Bay (and watershed) might prove difficult ;-)

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Anonymous Poster
#7
In reply to #2

Re: Commerce vs. Food: Who Wins?

12/14/2010 10:56 AM

Hi Tornado,

So, this is a compromise between food and business, wildlife and jobs, prosperity now and slow down monetary evolution, and I can continue...

Human being accept rarely or never compromises. Dad is dead, I want the business and someone else want the house and another family member want the half of the house and half of the business. How to compromise? need legal contribution, which costs money and take time. The fight never ending and no one is the winner and satisfied.

It happens with Bristol Bay too. It will be transformed in a business, creating well paid jobs and everyone will import salmons from somewhere else because we can pay for it.

Alberta's water become completely polluted but no action to stop it. Who cares about people in the Pacific immerged on the islands and need to move but where? We know that Manhattan will be flood with 3 to 5 metres of water within 25 to 30 years but no one talk really about it. When arable lands are submerged with the oceans and billions don't have food, what we do to each other?

I am not negative, I will be not there for the most dangerous times. It's the same for the initiators of "just making money and must enjoying it's consequences"!

My question is: When we start to think as human being must do? Good luck salmons, Alaskans, and people in BC, Gil.

NB: Probably negative as comment but this was, is, and will be the way things get done!

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#17
In reply to #2

Re: Commerce vs. Food: Who Wins?

01/17/2011 12:03 PM

Minerals are a resource, as can be labor. Mining however, is not a resource but rather a type of industrial activity that extracts wealth from the resources of labor and mineral deposits. Yes this sounds odd probably as labor seems like a outflow, but if the labor and raw materials are cheap enough and the product developed can be sold for suffieicently high enough value, the management and owners extract wealth.

One industry should never come in and destroy other pre-existing industries that depend on the resources touched by that industry. Particularly just because that industry extracts its wealth by being so sloppy and destructive in it processes and has depended for decades special exemptions from environmental laws by the government. Now if the mining industry was going to compensate the fishing industry and related interests for the cost incurred by the loss of fisheries until such a time as the fisheries could be recovered. Of course then it might not be as profitable.

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Anonymous Poster
#6

Re: Commerce vs. Food: Who Wins?

12/14/2010 10:29 AM

Heavy metal and sulfuric acid from a copper mine killed the Ocoee river in south east Tennessee. Over fifty square miles were entirely denuded in the 19th and 20th century. It's a beautiful place now, but the river is still dead. I think up-river there are still large swaths that are still without any plant or animal life.

No, let's not let that happen to one of the last salmon fisheries in the world.

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Anonymous Poster
#12
In reply to #6

Re: Commerce vs. Food: Who Wins?

12/16/2010 11:47 AM

Hi another Guest,

So, after your proposal, we can pollute water, cut down threes and allow around 50 years after complete exploitation of all natural resources "to get back to normal" like before. How old are you? I cannot wait 50 year. And who has the patience to wait so long to get back to the original status? No one. This is a dreaming solution! And, I don't count all eventual victims, Gil.

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Guru

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#13
In reply to #12

Re: Commerce vs. Food: Who Wins?

12/16/2010 4:14 PM

The other guest was not proposing that the resources be exploited--he was saying it should not be done.

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Guru

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#14
In reply to #6

Re: Commerce vs. Food: Who Wins?

12/16/2010 4:37 PM

Umm no shortage of salmon habitat, so don't worry it will be a long time before we get to the point of destroying the last of the habitat. Besides the west coast of the North America, you still have the east coast of Asia for Pacific Salmon, and tonas of habitat for Atlantic Salmon. The real impact however, would be a decline in population replenishment to offset harvesting, reducing fishery numbers overall. Thus driving the cost of salmon up on the market, and reducing the workforce in that field and related fields as less product was available, even though prices were up to offset.

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Anonymous Poster
#15
In reply to #6

Re: Commerce vs. Food: Who Wins?

01/12/2011 2:21 PM

Hi Guest,

We have to understand that the "EARTH" stay here. The dynasaures disappeared but the EARTH stayed and started over again. Just the surface was changed. 50% or 95% of living died but started a new life again. Catastrophes and other calamities happened many times during the 5 and half billlion years. However, EARTH was, still, and will be here with or withour global warming too. I am sure that the quantity of oxygen was different and will be different again. So, with 1% oxygen we have no chance to stay alive and it's the same with 95% oxygen.

Don't worry, we, you and I, have the chance to survive and can enjoy life as nothing happened. Happy New Year from Gil.

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Guru

Join Date: Dec 2007
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#8

Re: Commerce vs. Food: Who Wins?

12/14/2010 11:21 AM

Shouldn't the heading for this be commerce versus commerce. Salmon is big money, they cut the water off in Central and southern california for farming because of the reduced water flows impact on Salmon fisheries in the SF bay area. Fisherman can garner alot of public sympathy and represent a major form of commerce in the US.

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Power-User

Join Date: Dec 2010
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#9
In reply to #8

Re: Commerce vs. Food: Who Wins?

12/14/2010 12:26 PM

Hi RCE

Salmon fishing does make big money as you have pointed out, but we humans as yet have found no way of digesting gold, so leave the fish alone or we will soon die out as a species!

Xanasax

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Guru

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#10
In reply to #9

Re: Commerce vs. Food: Who Wins?

12/14/2010 2:10 PM

I am not sure this is the proper approach either, as leaving the fish alone would devalue them as a food source, since we must still harvest them. I doubt we would die out as a species because of the loss of some Salmon habitat, just not have more expensive salmon.

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Anonymous Poster
#11
In reply to #10

Re: Commerce vs. Food: Who Wins?

12/14/2010 5:10 PM

"leave them alone" means don't poison them... duh.

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Anonymous Poster
#16
In reply to #11

Re: Commerce vs. Food: Who Wins?

01/12/2011 2:31 PM

Hi Guest,

Don't forget the easiest solution: We don't eat salmon or any fish! We eat beef, pork, and other animals that their growth create environmental problems. That way we can accelerate our destruction. Our bodies are already poisoned by coagulated cow blood and our arteries are plogged more and more. Hearth attacks are in the horizon! Forget omega-3, -6, and -9. We replace them with some pills that put us back, as saiying, to "regularity". I'm not paid for advertising!

Have a healthy and happy New Year, Gil.

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