List of Pros and Cons of Pebble Mine
Pebble mining is one of the more controversial issues currently being discussed, due to its unique ability to provide a serious economic boost to states and regions who are in need. Many who would like to utilize all of the world’s natural resources and harness them for continued usage are shouted down by those who believe that the areas should remain untouched.
One of the most commonly debated subjects when it comes to pebble mining is the validity of the aforementioned economic boost. This topic is extremely complex and varied, requiring research and nuanced study. Pebble mining is the practice of harvesting precious minerals in Alaska’s Bristol Bay region. Learning more about what proponents of the project are aiming to achieve and what the detractors are attempting to avoid will help increase your overall understanding.
A project as complicated as this is one that does not come with any sort of simple answers. Whether you are on the pro side of the debate or you are more concerned with the cons, there is information to support your feelings. Deciding how you feel about this topic can be challenge, which is why it is important to read on and learn more, so that you can make an informed decision. The following are the pros and cons associated with the process of pebble mining.
List of Pros of Pebble Mine
1. Creation of Numerous High Paying Jobs
If the pebble mine project is able to move forward as planned, there would be numerous high paying jobs created immediately, which is an advantage no matter which way a detractor would like to slice it. Any person who has ever been hired for a job of this nature is more than happy to tell you about the great compensation package they received and since Alaska often struggles due to poor economy, any project that provides an increased cash flow to the region is considered a benefit.
Even lower paying jobs associated with the pebble mine project pay at a much higher rate than those that are typically available to the people who end up with them. While the nature of the work and the location are not always entirely ideal, the money that can be made is simply too much to ignore.
2. Economic Benefits To The Area
Anytime there is an influx of high paying jobs into a region, there are a number of economic benefits that must be considered as an overall plus. The effects on the local (and even national) economy are too great to be ignored. By providing a boost to the local economy and providing citizens with more disposable income, local businesses are able to share in the prosperity.
Since pebble mining is a vast undertaking and not a temporary fix, the long term effects on the region are projected to be difficult to ignore. Pebble mining jobs are believed to have serious potential for unlocking the true economic power of the region, by bringing in millions of dollars that would not have been available to the population otherwise.
3. Lasting Effect On The Region
While some detractors believe that the economic effects of a pebble mine project are short lived, many financial experts believe that the effects can last for decades after. The economic benefits are not just evident in the general population or for merchants, these benefits are able to extend to infrastructure, school systems, welfare, health care and a number of other areas that are not directly related to the actual project.
For areas that have been struggling over long periods of time, these effects are too helpful to be brushed aside. There are certain projects that can only provide a momentary boost, but pebble mining has been proven to help an area over the long haul. It provides an industry that can employ unskilled workers and delivers a viable income.
4. Dependence On Foreign Materials Significantly Reduced
When a region or a country is able to begin mining for their own raw materials and has a way to consistently produce jobs for its people, this is a huge boon to the area’s independence. They are able to reduce their reliance on foreign trade and do not need to spend the same amount of time figuring out how to maximize their ability to import goods.
Projects that allow countries and/or regions to focus on creating new forms of income and collecting raw materials provide valuable opportunities, opportunities for correcting any trading imbalances or empowering the local government. Diminishing overall dependence on foreign goods is always a plus, especially in places where this dependence has been allowed to build up over the course of several generations.
List of Cons of Pebble Mine
1. Severe Risk of Environmental Damages
There is no safe form of mining and just like any other mining that takes place, pebble mining can have a severe effect on the surrounding environment. Due to this fact, pebble mining does not have a great reputation among those who are advocates for protecting the environment. There are a number of emissions risks involved that can damage the quality of life for humans and animals in the region where the mining takes place.
The terrain that is mined experiences damages and so does the ecosystem of the area. Vegetation and tree life is placed at risk and water supplies where the mining is conducted are often unusable afterwards, thanks to toxic runoff. The soil’s natural condition is also in jeopardy and it can become impossible to grow crops after the pebble mine project has concluded.
2. Earthquake Activity Could Be Stimulated In The Region
Since pebble mining is a fairly new development, very little research has been done regarding the long term effects. As such, we know an astonishingly small amount about the damage that will be caused to fault lines in the area and what will need to be done in order to combat this sort of effect. Until the proper research can be conducted, pebble mining could prove to be extremely problematic.
When so little is known about the long term effects as it relates to earthquakes, this places workers at greater risk of suffering injuries or fatalities. Even though mine workers are very well compensated for their time, a high salary is not always an acceptable substitute for safety. Until there is research done about the long term effects as it relates to earthquakes and other natural disasters caused by pebble mining, many regions will struggle to find consistent employment in their mines, should they choose to go in this direction.
3. Mining Areas Can Be Criminal Hotbeds
When a depressed economic area decides to become a mining region, this can attract the wrong type of element to a country or state. People who live near mines often report troubling activities that take place in adjacent areas, as transients and criminals will typically take advantage of the sudden influx of income in the region where the mining is being conducted.
Instances of crimes tend to be more pronounced in places where mining has recently begun. Theft, drug sales, drug addiction and sex based crimes are all more common and local residents who are against the commencement of mining often cite the horror stories of other mining based economies as a means of frightening away this particular economic stimulant.
4. Toxic Waste Is Allowed To Accumulate
There are a large number of chemicals that are involved with the creation of any mining project. These toxic chemicals end up accumulating over the course of time and causing a number of issues for the local population, as well as plants and animals that have become accustomed to living in the region. The worst part of all? Scientists do not have the full scope of what these toxic chemicals are capable of.
Mining projects have a way of going awry when least expected, which can cause toxic waste to spread uncontrollably. Mercury and cyanide are often used, which can contaminate the environment and also pollute adjacent bodies of water. This has an extremely devastating overall effect on marine life, one that can take several generations to reverse.