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(en) France, Alternative Libertaire AL Octobre - Daniel (collective DesTerresMINÉes35): " We have proof that the techniques have not changed" (fr, it, pt) [machine translation]

Date Wed, 1 Nov 2017 08:01:36 +0200


Several mining projects led by the government meet citizens' opposition, which legitimately question the impact of mining on ecosystems and public health. While the national " revitalization " is relatively ignored by the media, opponents and opponents denounce the opacity of the decisions and the actors involved. Interview with Daniel, activist of the collective DesTerresMINÉes35. ---- Alternative libertarian: What is the " mining revival " initiated by the State ? In what political context was it born ? With what arguments ? ---- Daniel: In the face of the increasing difficulties in sourcing raw materials from the industry, the mining revival took place in a European context, between 2004 and 2008, in order to regain a mineral independence (the European Commission expressed itself in 2008 in a poetically unique strategic document called " Raw Materials Initiative: meeting our basic needs to ensure growth and create jobs in Europe ", Editor's note). France then clearly committed to this voice in 2012, through Arnaud Montebourg, Minister of Industry and Production Recovery. The government even created a national event in 2014, the day " Mines in France " conceived as " a forum for fruitful exchanges between industry, universities and administrations " to " accompany the French mining revival" [1].

It should be noted that all the projects in progress are recoveries of exploitation on old sites, the mines are not created but relaunched. Reconverted, even, or rather diversified, for example in an old gold mine we will also extract other minerals. As far as I know there has been no environmental opposition within the government, the economics arguments (course and availability of raw materials, independence ...) outweigh environmental, ecological or sanitary considerations. And above all, the argument of job creation, whereas the main evolution of the mines consists of mechanizations that reduce them rather. In addition, the number of jobs created in the short term is never balanced against the number of jobs destroyed by the reopening of a mine. And we can realize that this balance can be negative, as much if not more destructions than creations. Take for example a site like the first license granted in 2013 in the Sarthe. This is an exploration permit covering more than 300 hectares in the agricultural zone, with the prospect of the destruction of agricultural jobs by this establishment. So locally, we got delusional promises of hundreds of jobs created, plus indirect jobs. In addition, these so-called jobs are not generated by the exploration phase, but by exploitation. But the promises are always made during the exploration, because then there is almost no recourse against the transition to exploitation, because of the " Take for example a site like the first license granted in 2013 in the Sarthe.
This is an exploration permit covering more than 300 hectares in the agricultural zone, with the prospect of the destruction of agricultural jobs by this establishment. So locally, we got delusional promises of hundreds of jobs created, plus indirect jobs. In addition, these so-called jobs are not generated by the exploration phase, but by exploitation. But the promises are always made during the exploration, because then there is almost no recourse against the transition to exploitation, because of the " Take for example a site like the first license granted in 2013 in the Sarthe. This is an exploration permit covering more than 300 hectares in the agricultural zone, with the prospect of the destruction of agricultural jobs by this establishment. So locally, we got delusional promises of hundreds of jobs created, plus indirect jobs. In addition, these so-called jobs are not generated by the exploration phase, but by exploitation. But the promises are always made during the exploration, because then there is almost no recourse against the transition to exploitation, because of the " with the prospect of the destruction of agricultural employment by this establishment. So locally, we got delusional promises of hundreds of jobs created, plus indirect jobs. In addition, these so-called jobs are not generated by the exploration phase, but by exploitation. But the promises are always made during the exploration, because then there is almost no recourse against the transition to exploitation, because of the " with the prospect of the destruction of agricultural employment by this establishment. So locally, we got delusional promises of hundreds of jobs created, plus indirect jobs. In addition, these so-called jobs are not generated by the exploration phase, but by exploitation. But the promises are always made during exploration, for then there is almost no recourse against the transition to exploitation, because of the " droit de suite "in the Mining Code. The exploration company often boasts jobs to be created by a future operating company that is not yet there, but to whom it will sell its license.

How many projects are running in France ? Why oppose mining recovery ? What triggered the creation of collectives ? What are your arguments ?

Currently, there are 17 applications for mineral exploration permits filed with the Ministry of the Economy, as it is the Minister of the Economy who issues these permits and, in no case, the environmental services, which leads us to ask very serious questions on the choices made. So 11 permits are already accepted and 6 others are being processed. As for the opposition, about 15 associations have been set up in the past two years, not all projects, but we can hope for other constitutions, given the issues that these projects raise.

The first point is the lack of information from the population. On the application for a mining permit on the Ille-et-Vilaine region, the population had not been informed in any way. The mayors had two years before a simple consultative request of agreement to prospect by the company concerned, not relayed to the population. Second, we have a green will. The mining boost is accompanied by a speech promoting the " green " or " clean " mine "As recently announced the reopening of the Salau mine (Pyrenees Orientales), which would be the first green mine in the world. In fact, asbestos has been discovered, linked to the former activity, and today's exploration companies completely deny it. In short, for us the possibility of " clean " mines is not demonstrated by any existing example. On the contrary, we have evidence that the techniques have not changed in any of the mining projects. Only the increasingly complex chemicals used to dissociate and isolate rocks and the quantities used of these products have increased. In the " green " mine "It would be necessary to isolate in a specific place the operation of separation of the ores, to avoid the direct dissemination in the environment. But what about the residues of exploitation, those heavy metals that are toxic ? [2]. In reality, the State's objective is only to cope with the scarcity of metals and to guarantee " mineral self-sufficiency ". We want to ask a societal question: the overexploitation of natural reserves (minerals or fossil products) is a real plunder, unsustainable in the long term. This leads us to think about our real needs and the promotion of societal changes as well as towards a truly circular economy [3]. There's actually more gold in our garbage than what's left in the basement, and it's not true for gold. The problem is that minerals are used in alloys with such minute quantities of material that they can no longer be dissociated (for example, the different metals of a smartphone are unrecoverable). Therefore, the intention shared by most associations is to oppose the systemic re-mining of mining, which is translated by the slogan " neither here nor elsewhere ", to ask the question of the use and the re-use of resources on a global scale.

Can you tell us about the Variscan prospecting company ? What does his activity reveal about the mining economy ?

Variscan is a mining company, formed in 2010 when the mine revival project arrived in the pipes of the state. In the profession, these are called junior companies. It only deals with exploration, which does not require significant technical or financial means, and then sells (speculates) its license to an operating company. The particularity of Variscan is that it is managed by two former officials of the Bureau of Geological and Mining Research (BRGM), a public institution that is the state's tool for managing the resources and risks of the subsoil, the research is funded by public money. The Variscan leadership was able to reuse all previous research free of charge, across the country, without any predictable return to the community.

We see, therefore, that behind the arguments for national economic independence, there are actors who are well placed to take advantage of the economic and legal context and to enrich themselves in the face of the subsequent consequences of mining.

Interview by Reinette Noyée (AL Aveyron)

[1] The event can not be confused with the International Day to raise awareness of the problem of anti-personnel mines, established by the UN.

[2] For a complement on toxicity, see " Cévennes revelations about hidden pollution ".

[3] See Alternativelibertaire.org, " The circular economy ".

http://www.alternativelibertaire.org/?Daniel-collectif-DesTerresMINEes35-Nous-avons-la-preuve-que-les-techniques-n
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