new technology which means it can only get less expensive as it becomes more efficient

Dear Editor:
A closer look at our new neighbor:
I recently read a letter suggesting that “another argument should be brought forth that dealt with science and common sense” when referencing Antofagasta Mining.
Antofagasta is the owner of Twin Metals Mining near Ely. I would like to think that a letter based on honesty, facts and logic might be a better place to start.
The author used some pretty caustic language to depict Antofagasta mining as “a water-polluting, water-depleting, corrupt corporation responsible for severe environmental damage in Chile”. She highlighted the fact that the port city of Antofagasta, Chile’s copper mining hub, is a cancer capital in the country; it is, but not because of Antofagasta mining. Here are the facts.
The roots of Antofagasta Mining Company go back to 1888 when the Croatian immigrant, Antonio Andronico Luksic founded the first railroad between the port of Antofagasta and Bolivia, a land-locked country on the eastern side of the Andean mountains.
One-hundred and thirty years later and Antofagasta has an annual net income of US$15 billion and they are involved in everything.
And the Luksic family shares their wealth through global philanthropy; a partial list follows: Founder of F.E.O. a non-profit to improve preschool education in Chile, a non-profit to assist families of children who die as a result of sexual assaults, foundations to educational institutions including the Blavnik School of Government/England, Tsinghua University/China, MIT Sloan School of Management, Babson College, Harvard University/Massachusetts.
Andronico Luksic (the son) serves as a member of Harvard’s Global Advisory Council, the Global Advisory Board at Harvard Business School, the David Rockefeller Center for Latin American Studies, the Deans Council at the Harvard Kennedy School, established the Andronico Luksic Craig Program to support committed Chilean students get accepted to Harvard.
In addition, Luksic serves as a Member of the Chairman’s International Advisory Council at Americas Society, a New York-based premier forum dedicated to education, debate, and dialogue in the Americas, and as a Member of the International Advisory Council at Brookings Institution, a Washington, D.C.-based non-profit public policy organization dedicated to independent research and public policy advisory, and there is more.
Now tell me; does this sound like a man who doesn’t care about anyone but himself or his company?
Does this sound like Antofagasta is a two-bit, wheeling-dealing third world mining company that can’t be trusted? Does this sound like a global leader in mineral extraction that would risk everything with careless operational and environmental decisions?
No, it does not. Like any large corporation, they’ve had major negative issues to deal with; issues that have their fingerprints all over them.
Being the source of high cancer numbers in Antofagasta (the city) isn’t one of them. Deep studies show the elevated cancer rates in Antofagasta are the result of nearly two centuries of mining activity, a point in time long before human and environmental dangers were fully understood. Among the contributors, coal-fired power plants were allowed to dump their fly-ash into the ocean; fly-ash that contained vanadium and other heavy metals.
Bulk trains of copper concentrate and other minerals were shipped in open gondolas from Bolivia to the port of Antofagasta and also contributed greatly to the cancer source. Lead dust from lead mines contaminated the sand in the local beaches. Dust was everywhere since this is the Atacama Desert, the driest place on earth.
Add to this all the hydrocarbons coming to the port and being delivered to the mines; among the polluting substances were aromatic polycyclics. Per the US/EPA, sixteen chemicals of this family are major carcinogenic elements.
The good news is that the cancer numbers are dropping as centuries of wrongs are being righted.
What gets old is how the anti-mining folks will look past a hundred good things about a company like Antofagasta and take the two or three negative issues, even if they are in the process of being corrected, and showcase them to the world as if “this is who they really are.”
Do you honestly think that BP wanted to lose a drill rig and eleven gifted employees in the Gulf of Mexico?
Do you really think that Exxon really wanted to destroy an oil tanker on a reef in Alaska?
Do you actually believe that DuPont Chemical really tried to kill a few thousand people in Bhopal India?
Do you really think that White Star Lines asked the ship’s captain to hit an iceberg to see how their newest ship would respond?
All I can tell you is that today’s anti-everything environmentalists are masters at exploiting life’s tragedies.
So who pays when something bad happens? Antofagasta will put the required funds in the bank to cover any catastrophic disaster; it’s part of the deal.
The letters’ author also groused about miners complaining about the high cost of reverse osmosis. Reverse osmosis is a somewhat new technology which means it can only get less expensive as it becomes more efficient.
Twenty years ago, a flat-screen TV cost fifteen thousand dollars. Today a flat-screen TV has ten-times the quality for one tenth the cost- get the picture?
Solar panels are going through the same time line as are electric hybrid cars; efficiency is up, costs are going down.
To the author of the anti-Antofagasta letter; say what you will about the issues that Antofagasta had to correct, but be somewhat fair in your condemnations, especially when calling out a single company for high rates of cancer.
To do otherwise, leaves the impression that you are not only biased, but morally compromised.
Antofagasta will be a welcome addition to the Minnesota Arrowhead.
Bob Colombo
Ouro Preto, Brazil
Bob is a former Ely City Councilman