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: Britain's richest man to build giant Arctic iron ore mine



From: Terry Macalister, Ecologist, More from this Affiliate
Published July 5, 2011 08:35 AM

Britain's richest man to build giant Arctic iron ore mine

Britain's richest man is planning a giant new opencast mine 300 miles inside the Arctic Circle in a bid to extract a potential $23bn (£14bn) worth of iron ore. Lakshmi Mittal's 'mega-mine' is believed to be the largest mineral extraction project in the region but threatens unique wildlife.

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The "mega-mine" — which includes a 150km railway line and two new ports — is believed to be the largest mineral extraction project in the Arctic and highlights the huge commercial potential of the far north as global warming makes industrial development in the region easier.

The billionaire steel magnate Lakshmi Mittal, who is behind the project, wants to exploit a commodity whose value has doubled due to soaring demand from China and India.

But the wildlife group WWF, describes the planned mine as a "game changer" and a test case that could affect all future industrialisation of the far north. 'It is certainly ... of a scale that would be massive anywhere in the world,' said Martin von Mirbach, a director of the Arctic programme at WWF in Canada. WWF is demanding the company proceeds with extreme caution.

Documents seen by the Guardian show that Mittal's company, the world's biggest steel-making group, ArcelorMittal, admits the operations will be undertaken in an area inhabited by unique wildlife including polar bear, narwhal and walrus.

The company has just spent nearly $600m (£373m) alongside a US private equity firm buying Baffinland Iron Mines, to seize control and develop the Mary river deposits in the Nunavut region of the Canadian Arctic.

Article continues: http://www.theecologist.org/News/news_analysis/962831/britains_richest_man_to_build_giant_arctic_iron_ore_mine.html

Photo credit: http://www.topnews.in/people/lakshmi-mittal

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