Monday 14 January 2013

There's gold in them thar hills!

or: All that glisters is not gold.                                                                                 UpDown.                                          Ides 
Prince of Morocco:

O hell! what have we here?
A carrion Death, within whose empty eye
There is a written scroll! I'll read the writing.

     All that glitters is not gold;
     Often have you heard that told:
     Many a man his life hath sold
     But my outside to behold:
     Gilded tombs do worms enfold.
     Had you been as wise as bold,
     Young in limbs, in judgment old,
     Your answer had not been inscroll'd:
     Fare you well; your suit is cold.

Cold, indeed; and labour lost:
Then, farewell, heat, and welcome, frost!
Portia, adieu. I have too grieved a heart
To take a tedious leave: thus losers part.
 Belo Sun Mining Corp., Canada (BSX:CN).I have been seeing Belo Sun regularly in the Amigos da Terra daily newsletter; most recently here. The MPF (Ministério Público Federal) has doubts, naturally. There was a meeting on January 10 to go over the revised Belo Sun environmental assessment. Who knows how it will turn out? One imagines that Belo Sun will get the go-ahead and 'everyone' will be happy according to
[I understand the correct word to be 'glisters' not 'glitters', but I could be wrong.] Market shows confidence Brazil probe into Belo Sun gold project is temporary hiccup, Frik Els, September 22,'s narrow-focus editorial approach merits a moment's reflection - reinforcing as it does the complex of relationships between T&A and Brazil in engineering consciousness etc. (and through Carnaval to the liminal for others) ... as does the caption, "Anglo finally has something to smile about in Brazil." The MPF investigation is a 'temporary hiccup' they say, and they are probably right. 
Like the pretty girl at the dance this Xingu gold 'tem fila' / has a line following her, mostly horny Canadians: Kinross Gold Corporation, Yamana Gold Inc., Jaguar Mining Inc., and, Aura Minerals Inc.; plus AngloGold Ashanti Limited from South Africa; all with bated breath and thumping hearts (but no condom in their pocket I bet) awaiting the outcome on Belo Sun's (formerly Verena Minerals Corporation) Volta Grande project.

Kinross Gold Corporation.Yamana Gold Inc.Jaguar Mining Inc.Aura Minerals Inc.AngloGold Ashanti Limited, South Africa.
[The lion in the AngloGold Ashanti logo reminds me of C.S. Lewis for some reason; or The Lion King ... or something. Ashanti has antecedents too (and more).]

There are up to (possibly) several thousand 'garimpeiros artesanais' / artisanal miners, more-or-less organized, from several communities in the Grande Volta zone taking maybe 5 kilos a month with dynamite and (probably) mercury amalgamation, compared with Belo Sun taking out ~450 kilos a month over 20 years with cyanide leaching (based on 4 million ounces). See here and here.

Belo Sun stock, 2009 to present.A $2 stock; blips in May & September 2012 based on the MPF investigations maybe - but 6 billion in cash flow (based again on 4 million ounces) might change all that.

Map from Belo Sun environmental assessment.Map showing Belo Sun claims.I don't understand why the only map included in the revised Belo Sun Relatório de Impacto Ambiental shows such a small fraction of the area covered by their claims. (?)

I remember life as a consultant: fill up the report with pictures of small animals and bumph on methodology, and throw in "The Decommissioning Plan will seek to mitigate socioeconomic impacts of the end of the undertaking in a regional context." 
What might clean gold mining look like? (one asks):

Best to get a cognitive map going; Wikipedia is good for this: mining, extraction possibly involving amalgamation with mercury, cyanidation, recovery by carbon in pulp or electrowinning or the Merrill-Crowe process.

Using mercury amalgamation.When gold was to be had in nuggets and flakes, 'dust' in river beds it was a matter of physically separating it - panning, sluicing - employing gravity. More-or-less the same for digging it out of the ground, plus crushing. Possibly augmented by using mercury to catch and consolidate the dust - done from ancient times apparently.

Heap leaching.Heap leaching.But to get the really tiny microscopic flakes, you need a chemical process: crush the ore, pile it up, drip cyanide solution on the pile to dissolve the gold, catch the water with the dissolved gold, and use activated carbon or electroplating or precipitation to get it out again. Heap leaching - often carried out in the open air, on pads with impervious clay or plastic liners (which never leak of course).

So, long story short, it looks to me like the only clean way is gravity (minus mercury).    Not happening.

When advanced technology is in play the production of one gold ring can generate 20 tons of waste material - so say the environmentalists.

But we all know how they exaggerate; so reduce it by three orders of magnitude to ... 20 kilos. Are you willing to carry even that portion of the the environmental weight of your bauble on your finger or on a chain around your neck?

What might a golden ring signifying 'the circle of eternal love' mean then I wonder? 
Who are these people?   Well, in the case of Belo Sun they are:
Peter Tagliamonte.Mark Eaton.Helio Diniz.Stan Bharti.Clay Livingston Hoes.C. Jay Hodgson.Rui Botica Santos.Catherine Stretch.
There are brief bios here.     The answer is that they are nobody special; richer than most - Forbes gives Mark Eaton's annual take as just short of a million - but a proportion of qualities quite in line with actuarial tables no doubt. And I was wondering what it would take to change their minds. No idea. I don't think they can or will change their minds, any more than the 99%, the consumers who drive this crazy contraption of an economy towards doom, will change theirs.

If Lester Brown had his way and the entire civilization were directed towards solving the environmental catastrophe as it was towards defeating Hitler during WW II, these people would almost certainly be in the thick of it as would I.

Or if there were time for the social imaginary to complete a cycle and fill itself with consciousness of right relationship - but that takes ... generations.

To quote Kurt Vonnegut, "So it goes."     As I was putting this nonsense together I found myself humming an old hymn; couldn't make it out at first but after a while I got the chorus:
Faith of our fathers, holy faith!
We will be true to thee till death.
Maybe some of us worship of a Sunday and sing this tune, feeling strong and faithful.

Be well gentle reader. 
Google Map.More of the same by another k-k-Canadian 'player', Guyana Frontier Mining Corp. (formerly Shoreham Resources Ltd. of Houston(?) and a penny stock this time) in Guyana, with collaboration from Rexma in French Guiana (Guyane). See map, and details here (from Le Monde), & here.

A-and didn't even mention the natives, or the Terras Indígenas (the TI's indicated on one of the maps above). It's a perfect storm: caught between the evangelists and proselytizers (some of whom, like Erwin Kräutler, play both sides); the government with their Código Florestal and Portaria 303 (ditto Deborah Duprat); pension funds investing heavily in Belo Monte; gold; not to mention the loggers - all it needs is discovery of huge and accessible Coltan deposits to bring on the iPhone Valkyrie; Ragnarök.

Damn!   Just think I have finished and Presto! this appears in the NYT: A Rumble in the Jungle. With points I did not think of making, a-and information on a bunch of TV that I was not (even after a week's researching) aware of. Oh well :-) definitely worth reading and thinking about.

The Yangtze is a river so there are bound to be pictures of bridges ...
Nadav Kander - Yangtze, Chongqing XI.Nadav Kander - Yangtze, Shanghai I.Nadav Kander - Yangtze, Qinghai II.
Nadav Kander, some details at Wikipedia, and the photographer's website; or troll for images with a search engine.

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