Monday, August 1, 2011

America's Natural Resources for Sale

flickr via KimonBerlin (North Antelope Rochelle Mine, Wyoming)

Here's another great article from High Country News: The Global West: how foreign investment fuels resource extraction in western states by Jonathan Thompson. (If you're not a subscriber to this fine publication, please consider it.)

From the article:
My quest to comprehend the most recent surge of globalization led me to Laramie, then to Douglas, then across the Powder River Basin and finally to Denver, to talk to Vince Matthews. Since 2004, Matthews has been the Colorado state geologist and director of the Colorado Geological Survey. Before that, he worked for three decades in the oil industry. For much of his career, he's observed the globalization of the West's natural resource industries. Lately, Matthews has been traveling around the state telling chambers of commerce, groups of geologists, community leaders and just about anyone else who will listen that he's worried.

Sitting in his downtown Denver office, wearing a suit and tie that would look at home on a Houston oil executive, Matthews says that China and India, with their huge populations and economies growing at rates not seen since the Industrial Revolution, are ravenous for natural resources. Handing me graphs and charts to prove it, he says that their hunger is already washing across the West, driving up the pressure to develop natural resources. He talks about a Chinese businesswoman he knows in Denver, who frequently asks him how her relatives and clients can get hold of a Colorado mine or mineral deposit. And he reminisces about a visit to the Los Angeles port at Long Beach, where he saw ship after ship loaded down with scrap metal, headed for China...
Expect more news with this theme as our nation's balance sheet and currency continue to deteriorate. It's not our pie-in-the sky financial industry that these nations hunger for.

What goes around, comes around.