Know what the mining debate needs? Mercenaries

If you’ve ever been around a debate between people who want to dig up city-sized portions of earth to extract minerals and people who are against that, you see some common themes. Jobs vs. the Environment. Need for minerals in everyday goods vs. the need to preserve natural places. Growth and progress vs. air and water. It goes on.

You know what would add so much to this debate?

Face paint and camo, nice touch.
Photo submitted by Rob Ganson to Wall Street Journal

Heavily armed mercenaries. Yeah, that’ll do it.

In Wisconsin, where protests have flared up over Gogebic Taconite’s plans to mine iron ore in the woodlands of the state’s relatively untamed North, that’s what we have. 

Gogebic encountered some vocal protestors recently, mostly from local Ojibwe tribes and environmentalists, and have responded by posting some bad ass dudes with guns at their test sites.

Many in the Minnesota political community now wonder if this portends the future of the debate over nonferrous mining near the eastern Iron Range and Boundary Waters Canoe Area.

That’s not clear, but I can only imagine how productive our conversations will be by then. Think of how many jobs we’d create if both sides spent all their money on mercenaries and then had them fight for the entertainment of the masses? Wait, you’re not against jobs, are you?

Looks like the company had to withdraw the armed guards for lack of a license. But someone got to live out their little “private army” fantasy for a while, and it appears there were no altercations. I’m sure some form of security protection will return to the site in time. Perhaps something a little more understated?


  1. Interesting move on the part of GTac. Doesn’t give much room for negotiation, the next level of escalation will most likely involve someone being shot/killed by the guards.

  2. “Vocal protesters”? The protesters got down right violent. They stole a geologists cell phone, smashed her camera, caused thousands of dollars of damage to drill equipment and threatened workers.
    I don’t like the idea of private security firms being brought on to contentious projects like this, but the local sheriff couldn’t dedicate the resources to secure the area, and the company has a responsibility to protect it’s workers.
    Also the people operating the drill rigs are not GTac employees, but are contractors.

  3. The videos that are out showing the protestors of the mining project were chilling. The geologists and drilling rig operators were just doing their jobs when masked protestors attacked them in the middle of the woods. I don’t blame the company for hiring armed guards as things were getting out of control.

    Regardless of whether you support the mining or not, it’s just not right to attack people like that. There are procedures where you can be taken a whole lot more seriously than by dressing up like G.I. Joe, stalking an unsuspecting worker in the woods, surrounding them, attack them, oh yeah, and be dumb enough to videotape it and post it to YouTube.

    The mining company has a right and a duty to provide a safe work environment. If it takes armed guards, so be it.

  4. I’m not in favor of masked commandos on either side of the issue, but the Iron County sheriff seems to be fully satisfied that the violence was an isolated incident and that the response by GTac has been disproportionate. Seeing how it’s his jurisdiction, I’ll have to take him at his word until the evidence says otherwise.

    Meanwhile, if GTac is going to restrict the public’s enjoyment of the land in question, they should be prepared to forfeit their generous property tax arrangement.

    Adding: Oh, my! It looks like someone hasn’t done their homework:

  5. Come now Aaron…

    You and your ilk support using a closed fist as your religious banner and bow to a leader who states “If they bring a knife to the fight, we bring a gun” – Obama in Philadelphia, June 13,2008. And then you mock the other side for lawfully defending their rights? Shame and hypocrisy!

  6. I think a rousing game of Capture the Flag would do a lot to defuse tensions on both sides.

  7. What’s next, private for-profit contractors fighting our wars instead of the US Army in the middle east? You know, a lot of people think corporations should have their own laws and their own armies to enforce them, but I just don’t know. I sort of cling to the idea of “representative democracy” over a corporate-fascist military regime…but that’s just me.

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