Kosovo declared independence from
Kosovo’s economy is ranked the fourth most corrupt in the world by Transparency International. Its massive restructuring will depend largely on mineral exports, according to a March 5 report in The New York Times.
The new country’s largest export is scrap metal, but Kosovo’s hopes for increased exports lie in what geologists expect to be “vast amounts of minerals” in the territory, Dan Bilefsky reported.
Its old methods of extraction are “outdated” and “will need hundreds of millions of dollars in outside investment to create a profitable exporting business,” Bilefsky reported. Unfortunately, the mining industry has faced fierce opposition from Western environmental activists and with an estimated 14 billion tons of coal to be mined in Kosovo, it is likely the country could fall prey to the same hostility.
Coal is one of the most opposed energy sources among leftwing environmental groups. The leftwing eco group NRDC.org claims “coal has caused more widespread damage to our health and environment than any other energy source. Coal is the single largest source of global warming and mercury pollution.”
Exploring the “dark side of environmentalism,” Irish filmmakers Phelim McAleer and Ann McElhinney made the 2007 documentary “Mine Your Own Business,” focusing on a similar situation with the effects of opposition to mining in impoverished towns.
Not long ago, Canadian mining company Gabriel Resources purchased the rights to mine the Rosia Montana hills in
In “Mine Your Own Business,” McAleer interviewed Deepak Lal, Professor in International Development at UCLA, who called Western environmentalists the “biggest enemies of the poor.”
“Most of them are actually ignorant about what actually works, what does actually reduce poverty. It’s all rhetorical it’s very narrow, single issue case and it’s based on this sort of moral argument which they keep making… but if you are starving and your children are sort of dying of diseases I mean, you know, these moral arguments are not going to cut much ice,” said Lal.
Environmental activists featured in McAleer’s documentary, such as Roth and Mark Fenn of the Madagascar-based Worldwide Fund for Nature, have stalled mining interests in
Fenn argued for keeping residents of
Yet, McAleer immediately revealed that it was in fact monetary restrictions, not lack of interest, which kept children in
If past environmental opposition can help predict the future, it will only be a matter of time before bold investors in the Kosovo mining economy are rivaled by environmentalists.
And the question remains: what role will the media play in Kosovo’s economic reconstruction. Can journalists maintain a “hands-off” approach and allow the citizens of Kosovo to make decisions about their own economy? Or will they continue to side with environmentalists, as The New York Times did with Roth, and risk handicapping an already disadvantaged nation?