Almost every media outlet and all the NGOs in the world are condemning the Canadian mining industry for the murder of an anti-mining activist in Mexico. Whether the stories currently circulating reflect the unbiased facts of the incident, may or may not be true. But the gist of the allegations is this:
Mexican anti-mining activist Mariano Abarca Robledo was shot to death in a small Mexican town near the Guatemalan border. His death follows reports that he feared for his life after he received threats made by employees of Blackfire Exploration, a private company headquartered in Calgary. Mexican authorities have shut down the mine and arrested three employees. The fact that the incident occurred in the embattled province of Chiapas, only makes the tale more sensational.
Once again, the entire Canadian mining industry is being vilified for the alleged actions of individuals, and Mexican nationals at that. Critics who would ignore the good that the hundreds of responsible mine operators have accomplished should back off. At least at least they have to take a long look at the improved health, education and living standards that are available to developing communities who embrace mining.
I have my own bias – less about the mining industry than about the “protest industry”, which I do not trust to fairly weigh the facts of such situations. I worry that anti-mining activists pick their causes based on emotion, not facts. I am never sure their websites reflect actual conditions, and I think their images are chosen out of context to make their targets (the mining industry) look evil.
Where is the balance between responsible economic advancement and preserving the world’s cultures and environment? I doubt such a balance will be worked out in my lifetime.