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Home / Tim Worstall /It’s possible to think that some people haven’t quite got the point

It’s possible to think that some people haven’t quite got the point

Summary:
Those manganese nodules down there in the abyssal deeps, there’s a fairly concerted move to get them dragged up to feed the renewables revolution. Also a fairly concerted move to make sure they don’t get mined at all:Louisa Casson, a Greenpeace campaigner, criticised the industry for running the conference and banks for considering investing in the “dangerous and unnecessary” projects to “make a quick profit”.“This destructive new industry wants to rip up an ecosystem we are only just starting to understand,” she said. “[They are] aiming to make a quick profit while our oceans and the billions of people relying on them bear the costs.”Well, yes, we all knew Greenpeace were bananas - build absolutely nothing anywhere near anywhere.This being The Guardian of course certain details manage to

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Those manganese nodules down there in the abyssal deeps, there’s a fairly concerted move to get them dragged up to feed the renewables revolution. Also a fairly concerted move to make sure they don’t get mined at all:

Louisa Casson, a Greenpeace campaigner, criticised the industry for running the conference and banks for considering investing in the “dangerous and unnecessary” projects to “make a quick profit”.

“This destructive new industry wants to rip up an ecosystem we are only just starting to understand,” she said. “[They are] aiming to make a quick profit while our oceans and the billions of people relying on them bear the costs.”

Well, yes, we all knew Greenpeace were bananas - build absolutely nothing anywhere near anywhere.

This being The Guardian of course certain details manage to escape them:

The hoped-for gold rush lies thousands of miles away on the bed of the Pacific Ocean, where trillions of potato-sized nodules of rare earth elements

Umm, no, they’re nickel, cobalt, copper, manganese, none of which are rare earths. Anything to do with financial numbers confuses of course - this is The Guardian:

expected the ISA to agree a payment regime that would hand mining companies a post-tax profit of 17.5%.

No, it’s for an internal rate of return, IRR, of 17.5%.

But details, schmetails, except we do love this proposal, which does seem to be wholly and entirely missing the point:

The African Group considers that this philosophy alone is insufficient. More specifically, the African Group will only support a payment regime that demonstrably:

a.) results in deep-sea mining contractors facing rates of payment (an overall burden of taxation)

that are within the range of those prevailing for land-based miners;

b.) results in substantial and fair compensation to mankind whenever deep-sea mining occurs; and

c.) either i.) constrains production from deep-sea mining to a level that does not result in lower

metal prices and a loss of government revenue from land-based mining; or ii.) results in high

enough revenue from deep-sea mining for governments with revenues from land-based mining

to be fully compensated.

We grasp the fully compensated part. That’s just the countries which currently host mines trying it on. Shrug, commercial negotiations are about trying it on and seeing what one can make stick.

But don’t you love that idea? A new mine may only be opened if it doesn’t reduce the prices of the metals mined? Rather missing the point of opening a new mine really.

That demand is actually that the current mines must have a cartel over any new mines to protect their profits in perpetuity. Given that this is a UN driven process don’t dismiss the possibility of it happening either.

Perhaps this international negotiation thing isn’t in fact quite the way to manage new technologies?

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Tim Worstall
Tim Worstall is a British-born writer and Senior Fellow of the Adam Smith Institute. Worstall is a regular contributor to Forbes and the Register. He has also written for the Guardian, the New York Times, PandoDaily, the Daily Telegraph blogs, the Times, and The Wall Street Journal. In 2010 his blog was listed as one of the top 100 UK political blogs by Total Politics.

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