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16/12 - A prime example of ‘Mission Creep’

By Sophie Lee
Dec. 16, 2014, 4:35 p.m.

The word betrayed has been used a lot around Majors Creek and Braidwood lately. It’s even mentioned in the papers and on TV news reports concerning the proposed submission by Unity Mining.

To say i feel betrayed is not totally correct, since that implies a level of trust ever existed. In my case, I never felt any level of trust and in fact, I could have guessed it would run something like this.

Call me paranoid or say I’ve watched too many conspiracy movies, but if a company or a big business is motivated by greed for shareholder profit, it stands to reason that they cannot be trusted to put any interest first except their own, even if it means using questionable tactics.

The typical modus operandi of developers in the mining industry is well documented. It is based on a foot-in-the-door approval, and then with a progression of amendment upon amendment, a wearing down of the local community, and an eroding of limits and special conditions, the gate is fully open and the mining company gets what they wanted right from the start.

There is a perfect name for this concept…Mission Creep…we’ve got the idea right?! But Wikipedia gives this definition:

"Mission creep is the expansion of a project or mission beyond its original goals, often after initial successes. Mission creep is usually considered undesirable due to the dangerous path of each success breeding more ambitious attempts, only stopping when a final, often catastrophic, failure occurs."

Here is a prime example of Mission Creep. After gaining approval to modify some conditions already, including a wording change that allows them to only have to “generally” comply with conditions of approval (rather than follow them to the letter). 

Unity Mining now seeks further changes that will erode the conditions and limits on approval and then, I should think, if successful, will make application to increase the maximum allowable ore to be extracted from the site per year, (a limit imposed to control open cut mining) and an application to process ore from other mines at the facility at Majors Creek. 

The final failure may not even be a catastrophic tailings dam disaster, or an overturned cyanide load on Majors Creek Road, it may be that all those truck movements they so kindly relieved us of come back again but now they are bringing the ore from all over the place here to process and Majors Creek becomes an industrial site with a big sad hole in the ground and our town changes into a place we wish we didn’t live in.

Sophie Lee

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