17 November 2006

'Litigious North America"

In an interesting twist on the ongoing debate in Nome over the Rock Creek mine that's being built just north of town, three Nome citizens have filed suit against the Army Corps of Engineers to get them to do an environmental impact study. (Listen to APRN's Alaska News Nightly tonight for more, if you're interested.)

What I found interesting was a comment NovaGold president Rick van Nieuwenhuyse made in a conference call this morning. He sought to the minimize the suit, saying it was just three people and is what you often see from "citizen groups" in "litigious North America."

It's interesting because one of the main arguments Nova is making as it fends off a hostile takeover bid from Barrick Gold Corporation is that its prospects are worth so much more because they're in a "geopolitically stable" part of the world. I take it that means we're a place that has a clear and distinct regulatory process, property ownership, and citizens who won't rebel (violently) against mine plans.

Of course, as Nova is now finding out, the problem with "geopolitically stable" parts of the world is that we also have the rule of law. And now that stability is rearing its head.

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