Fair Earth

Showing, I suppose, how flexible Vivian Krause’s method of confirmation bias can be, it has been adapted to fish farming, tar sands oil and now rare earth elements by Sam Reynolds citing Krause’s work, in TechVibes.

The gist:

  1. The Intel Corporation seeks conflict-free tantalum for its products.
  2. The Moore Foundation, founded by one of Intel’s co-founders, has given grants to support reform in mining practices including grants to Canada.

Quicker than you can say ipso facto:

Though it is not conclusively proven, it may be the case that the Moore Foundation’s campaign to “reform” mining in British Columbia—by attempting to sour the political climate to further mining exploration and dragging out environmental assessment processes—is to protect the burgeoning American rare earth elements mining industry.

Yes, er, not “conclusively” proven. Quite the qualifier.

What’s missing…

  1. How these grants prevent expansion of tantalum mining in Canada. Given that their stated purpose is to reform mining practices, not stop it.
  2. How these grants are even related to tantalum mining rather than to mining generally.
  3. If there’s a link between the two beyond the original found (and this is never established), why the Moore Foundation would make it difficult for Intel to achieve its stated corporate strategy.
  4. Why attempt to obliquely thwart Canadian tantalum mining when it would be easier, more effective and lucrative for an American mining company to simply buy Canadian tantalum mines?

Fair questions not asked:

  • Where is tantalum mining centred in Canada? [Hint] [Hint]
  • Are there tantalum mines proposed for British Columbia? [Hint]
  • Is the proposed Blue River mine even in area covered by the grant? Here’s the boreal forest region as described by the Canadian Boreal Initiative.


  • And here’s Blue River:
  • Does Pew fund mining reform in the United States? [Hint]

Other things I might have asked:

  • What’s the difference between a mine and a smelter?
  • Why the existence of the Canadian Boreal Initiative would prevent the construction of tantalum smelters in Canada, given they don’t actually need to be built beside a tantalum mine but could be constructed anywhere. Such as Pompano Beach, Florida or Goslar, Germany. Or outside the boreal forest zone.
  • Pondering the possibility that smelters in Pompano Beach, Florida or Goslar, Germany are smelting Canadian tantalum.
  • Pondering the possibility that Canadian mining companies can own mines in the United States.

Finally, given the above:

  • Why Canadians, and British Columbians in particular, should be concerned about any of this.