DK\’s Blog

June 8, 2006

Let the Chilean Farmers Mine for Gold!

Filed under: Business,GeoPolitics — darrenkelly @ 9:33 pm

I received a petition from my Canadian in-laws recently (see below) that calls for the restriction of Barrick Gold Mining Company from building a Gold mine in a "pristine" part of Chili.    I thought it would be important for someone to express the reasonable, libertarian economic argument about why it is in everyone's best interests, even "the Greenies" to let Barrick build the mine.  Here goes.

The farmers will make 10x the money from the jobs they will get pulling Gold out of the mine so Chinese & Indian folks can wear gold jewelry.   This makes a lot of people happy.  (Smiling farmers with money, Smiling people with Jewelry).    In 50 years when the gold is gone, they’ll fill the hole.   In 50 more years, trees will grow on the spot.   You may notice the difference, but it isn’t going to be the end of the world.  I’m also betting that Barrick will go to extraordinary lengths to ensure the rivers flow around the mine, and ensure that run-off of heavy metals is eliminated – in recent years mining technology has advanced to the point that this is no longer a problem.  In fact, in
Africa, they use BACTERIA to separate the gold out.
The people who run Barrick are not evil.   They will do their best to protect the environment for our grandchildren.   Call them and go for coffee with some of them and I bet you have more in common with them than not.It comes down to this – which is worse?  

1)       Chileans have to put up with noise, and the ugliness of a mine for 3 generation

2)       Chilean farmers remain poor, uneducated, have poor healthcare, and 3 generations of their children don’t have the opportunity to see this incredible world because they don’t have the wealth.    

You can argue about which is worse, but in case after case after case around the world for 1000’s of years, people want a better life, and more opportunity for their children, and have decided #1 is the lesser evil.   THIS WILL NOT STOP.  EVER.  HUMANS ARE HUMANS.

This is a big planet, and yes, we are changing it.  Yes we are probably wrecking parts of it.   But the ONLY way for us to prevent ourselves from ruining it is MAKING EVERYONE ON THE PLANET AS RICH AS POSSIBLE SO WE CAN AFFORD “GREEN” TECHNOLOGIES TO SUPPORT OURSELVES IN A LOW-IMPACT WAY.    A capitalist, free-trade, open market approach will ensure this happens for developing nations and their farmers.

Let’s start mining!


"…….Dear friends who care about our earth. Judge for
yourself if you want to take action.
In the Valle de San Felix, the purest water in

runs from 2 rivers, fed by 2 glaciers.
Water is a most precious resource, and wars will be
fought for it.
Indigenous farmers use the water, there is no
unemployment, and they provide the second largest
source of income for the area.
Under the glaciers has been found a huge deposit of
gold, silver and other minerals. To get at these, it
would be necessary to break, to destroy
the glaciers – something never conceived of in the
history of the world and to make 2 huge holes, each
as big as a whole mountain, one for extraction
and one for the mine's rubbish tip.
The project is called PASCUA LAMA. The company is
called Barrick Gold.
The operation is planned by a multi-national company,
one of whose members is George Bush Senior.
The Chilean Government has approved the project to
start this year, 2006.
The only reason it hasn't started yet is because the
farmers have got a temporary stay of execution.
If they destroy the glaciers, they will not just
destroy the source of specially pure water, but they
will permanently contaminate the 2 rivers so
they will never again be fit for human or animal
consumption because of the use of cyanide and
sulphuric acid in the extraction process.
Every last gramme of gold will go abroad to the
multinational company and not one will be left with
the people whose land it is. They will only
be left with the poisoned water and the resulting
The farmers have been fighting a long time for their
land, but have been forbidden to make a TV appeal by a
ban from the Ministry of the Interior.
Their only hope now of putting brakes on this project
is to get help from international justice.
The world must know what is happening in
Chile . The
only place to start changing the world is from here.
We ask you to circulate this message amongst your
friends in the following way. Please copy this text,
paste it into a new email adding your
signature and send it to everyone in your address
book. Please will the 100th person to receive and sign
the petition send it to to
be forwarded to the Chilean government.



  1. You are not a steward of the planet.

    Comment by Don — June 8, 2006 @ 11:42 pm

  2. Let me guess you are the same guy who wants to drill in ANWR even though it makes absolutely no economic sense

    Comment by Cooper — June 9, 2006 @ 3:08 am

  3. Ideally the whole planet should be developed commercially. The economic benefits are so much greater than the intangible benefits such as open space, clean air and water, etc…

    Comment by mahoba — June 9, 2006 @ 4:10 am

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