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Rosia Montana, a poor mining town in the Transylvanian mountains of Romania, has been approached by the Rosia Montana Gold Corporation (RMGC) to dig four open-pit gold mines in their area. Among Rosia Montana residents, the majority of is unemployed and lacks indoor toilets and reliable running water. The mine would bring 600 permanent jobs to the area and $2 billion into the Romanian economy.
Benefits have accrued to society from mining for millennia. Even an economy as advanced as the United States depends on it. In 2005, the gross output of industries that require the products of mining represented 16 percent of total U.S. gross domestic product (GDP). Each job in mining creates an additional 2.8 jobs elsewhere. And mining earnings of $18.6 billion generated a total of $50.6 billion in earnings throughout the U.S. economy.
The world’s poorer nations need the economic growth that mining projects provide. However, radical environmentalists stand in their way. Their desire to hold the developing countries to First-World green standards consigns developing world people to slow—and in some cases no—economic growth. But wealthier is healthier—and cleaner; it is the wealthy nations that care about the environment and can afford to do something about it.
But many environmental activists view the world as a series of Malthusian “terrible toos”―too many people, too much consumption, too rapid an introduction of too poorly understood technologies. Therefore, they favor expanded political control over almost all economic activities.