Al Gedicks: Gogebic Taconite failing to win Public Support 08.25.13

Read this article online    Read additional articles by Professor Al Gedicks: Resisting Resource Colonialism -  Mining moratorium law essential to protect water 11.25.12 -  Wrong to ignore Bad River Tribe in mining negotiations 02.10.13 - The Fight Against Wisconsin’s Iron Mine Slides 1, 2, 3, 4, - 

Dear Editor: Contrary to Gogebic Taconite's public relations, the real target of GTac's armed guards in the Penokee Hills was not 15 protesters last June, but the growing resistance to this ill-conceived mountain top removal operation among 11 Wisconsin tribes, environmental organizations and local officials in communities downstream from the proposed mine.

The international mining industry recognizes that new mining projects need more than government approvals to proceed and make a profit. They need a "social license to operate" where the mining company is seen as having won broad local support for its extractive activities.

The failure to obtain such a social license raises the political and financial risks of a project and can often lead to the defeat of a mining project by widespread community opposition. This is exactly what happened when an Indian, environmental and sportfishing alliance led to the defeat of the Crandon mine project in 2003.

From GTac officials saying they would not try to change Wisconsin's mining regulations to their disregard for Indian treaty rights and their cover-up of the presence of sulfide minerals in the ore and waste rock, they have failed to win the support of the local community.

GTac has proven that it can get what it wants from the Legislature and Gov. Scott Walker, but without a social license to operate, this is not a viable project. The decision to deploy armed guards is not a solution. It is the problem.

Al Gedicks

La Crosse, executive secretary of Wisconsin Resources Protection Council

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