Friday, July 27, 2007

South Carolina premiere of Mine Your Own Business

The Word is spreading

Charleston, South Carolina- - The Bastiat Society is bringing Mine Your Own Business, by Phelim McAleer and Ann McElhinney, to the public, free of charge, to all those interested in exploring the negative consequences of environmental groups working around the world. The film will be shown at the American Theatre, 446 King Street in Charleston on Wednesday, September 5th, 2007 at 5pm.

“Move over Michael Moore. You have competition in the art of political film making…but instead of advancing the cause of smug liberal hypocrisy, he’s [McAleer] debunking it.” – Wall Street Journal Online

Friday, June 22, 2007


Mine Your Own Business has now been on two of the main TV channels and is due to appear on two others in the near future.

The film makers have been interviewed on TV3, the countries most popular TV station, Joy FM, a respected Radio station and Metro TV - a popular station in Accra.

More to follow....

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Mine Your Own Business Wows PDAC

Environmental fascism – Mining facing misinformation and downright lies from anti-mining NGOs
Lawrence Williams
'07-MAR-07 08:00'
LONDON ( --In an interesting initiative at this year’s Prospectors and Developers Association of Canada (PDAC) meeting, the organisers invited film makers Phelim McAleer and Ann McElhinney to show their film – Mine Your Own Business. Following the showing the flimmakers fielded questions about the film itself, as a part of a debate as to how the mining industry should face up to the problems it faces from NGOs who mislead the public with anything from deliberate misinformation to downright lies about the benefits or otherwise that the industry brings to local populations.

The two Irish documentary makers were invited initially by Gabriel Resources, currently trying to develop Romania’s Rosia Montana gold project against strong environmental opposition. McAleer and McElhinney agreed to do this provided they had totally independent editorial control of the film they would produce. Indeed Alan Hill of Gabriel felt initially that he would have preferred a different type of film altogether.

McAleer, takes on the role in the documentary of devil’s advocate looking at the claims and counter claims of the miners and the NGO opponents. In person it is apparent that he now feels extremely strongly from a personal front about what the NGOs seem to be trying to do in stopping mining where it promises, not only to provide jobs and income to poverty-stricken locals, but in Rosia Montana’s case actually help clean up a horrendous environmental legacy of poorly-controlled state mining operations at the site.

He claims to have absolutely no interest in mining per se – his background is journalism with London’s respected Financial Times newspaper – but does have a strong interest in what a developing industry can do for jobless locals living in horrendously primitive surroundings. Thus he and his colleague have ended up producing a Michael Moore-type documentary highlighting the hypocrisy and damage being done by some anti-mining NGOs in their fight to kill new mining operations in various parts of the world.

He admits that the NGOs may believe deeply that what they are doing is justified, as may the people who fund them, but that they are perhaps more than just misguided and that their actions actually harm the people they are supposedly setting out to protect.

At Rosia Montana, for example, the NGOs paint a picture of an idyllic mountain village where villagers live on good income generated from agricultural and sheep raising income, and that the locals almost unanimously oppose the big mining project. In fact it seems to be the reverse that is true. The locals are almost unanimous in their support for the new mine, while the local ground is too poor to support an agricultural alternative. Living conditions in the village are extremely primitive and the mine offers not only jobs, but new modern housing.

The filmmakers did not just rest their case with Rosia Montana – they also looked at two more projects being set up in extremely poor areas of the world – Rio Tinto’s titanium sands mining project in Madagascar – the world’s third poorest country – and Barrick’s Pascua Lama gold mining project high in the Chilean Andes. They found that NGO’s operating largely from a western viewpoint that the locals would obviously prefer living a poverty stricken existence and maintaining their indigenous cultures, when in fact the opposite is true.

In Madagascar the prospective mine life is 60 years, and the project would involve building a decent port there – which would be the seventh largest in Africa and provide long term benefits to the local community that they could currently only dream of. In Chile, the NGOs are supported by local landowners who do oppose the project, but primarily because if the mine is built they will have to compete with the mines for local labour which is currently paid below subsistence level wages.

Here too one of the leading lights in the anti-mining campaign turned out to be an environmental activist living in one of London’s wealthier suburbs who had never been to the Pascua Lama site, yet felt qualified to speak supposedly for the locals who he had never met!

It was apparent from the question and answer session that the two filmmakers both felt that the NGOs seemed, in all three studies examined, in a ‘conspiracy’ to keep the poor in continuing poverty, with all the problems that brings in terms of poor health, poor life expectancy, high infant mortality and the ‘pleasure’ of continuing to live in horrendous conditions.

What is also interesting is what this writer terms environmental fascism. There have been attempts to suppress this film and prevent it being shown. The filmmakers have even received death threats because of it. Documentary TV channels and film festivals won’t screen it, although will happily carry works which try to paint the opposite picture.

What can one do about this. In the subsequent discussion at the PDAC one has to say that not much came to the fore in realistic ways of attacking the problem faced by miners. There wasn’t any real opposition to the findings – but then the film was shown to a highly supportive audience. There perhaps was a consensus that the industry should perhaps be more proactive in putting its case and that the film should be made available to educational establishments – although whether they would actually show it is perhaps another matter.

Phelim McAleer himself, who has inherited a very jaundiced viewpoint about the activities of the NGOs during the making of the film, even feels that mining should not even try and work any of the NGOs at all, although one speaker from the floor did urge caution and pointed to some significant cooperative work between Rio Tinto and some environmental groups.

Combating NGO misinformation is something the industry will continue to have to deal with. Whenever a prospective mine springs up nowadays, special interest groups will almost automatically oppose it. While often local people and politicians will ultimately ensure that the projects do go ahead for the benefits they bring to the local communities, getting to this stage can be a long and costly process for the mining company. Perhaps the McAleer approach of trying to bring the NGOs to account has a lot of merit, but whatever is done, the industry itself has to remain squeaky clean in its dealings and operations so as not to give opponents further sticks to beat it with.

The NGOs, like terrorists, do not seem to abide by the rules of the game. They do need to be brought to account in some way or other, because misinformation and lies once promulgated in the media tend to be considered as fact by the general public – even though they may be withdrawn at some stage in the future. The question is haow can the industry achieve this. The debate continues.

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Thursday, February 08, 2007


February 08, 2007, 0:00 a.m.

A Mine is a Terrible Thing to Waste
Mine Your Own Business exposes green hypocrisy.

By Peter Suderman

It’s not often you find environmentalists staging a protest outside of National Geographic. But in mid-January, a handful of them gathered outside the magazine’s Washington, D.C. headquarters to rally against the organization’s decision to rent out a theater for the Washington premiere of the documentary Mine Your Own Business, a movie that tracks the efforts of environmentalists to stop the development of mines that promise to invigorate flagging economies in destitute regions across the world.

With stacks of photocopied handouts and hand-scrawled poster board signs bearing slogans like “Full Disclosure,” the motley crew of activists stalked the streets pushing papers at passers by and engaging in heated debate with free-market counter-protesters and even the filmmakers themselves. Nor were they the only ones going after the film. Earlier, Greenpeace released a statement urging National Geographic not go forth with the showing and comparing the movie to pornography and Nazi propaganda. This was despite the fact that National Geographic was not endorsing the showing, but merely renting out their theater space.

The rhetorical overkill of the response was telling: The environmental movement is clearly afraid of this film, and they should be. Mine Your Own Business, Irish filmmaker Phelim McAleer’s clear-eyed look at the true impacts of mining and the nefarious tactics of its opponents, exposes the self-satisfied delusions of the environmental Left, putting lie to a host of deadly, anti-growth canards and revealing the smug elitism of many green advocates.

This is, perhaps, not all that surprising. The ideas espoused by many greens are farcical enough to begin with. But even for someone used to their whoppers, it’s almost shocking the lies, misrepresentations, and condescending behavior that McAleeny manages to catch on film. With great care and thoroughness, the movie deconstructs the Left’s anti-growth narrative of pastoral tranquility and replaces it with something truly shocking: actual local sentiment.

Mine Your Own Business looks primarily at ongoing efforts to stop Canadian company Gabriel Resources from building a gold mine in Rosia Montana, Romania. The region is poor, with many people still residing in tiny, Communist-era block apartments and forced to use outhouses in a place in which freezing temperatures are common. Most anti-mine activists, of course, live far away, surrounded by modern comforts. But despite this, they claim to know what the locals want.

McAleer, on the other hand, figured the locals might be in a better position to explain their needs. In the film, he walks the streets of Rosia Montana and two other potential mine locations conducting interviews with area residents. Every one of them repeats a variant on one idea: What they really want is to work, and the mines would provide them that opportunity. By talking directly to locals, and by airing their ideas rather than claiming to speak for them, McAleer beats supposedly pro-local environmentalists at their own game.

Environmentalists, of course, talk endlessly about preserving traditional ways of life, but locals don’t want to preserve poverty and hardship. They want a chance to provide a more comfortable existence for themselves and their families. McAleer catches Francoise Heidebroek, who works with an anti-mining NGO, claiming that Rosia Montana residents would “prefer to ride a horse than drive a car.” When McAleer asks locals if they’d prefer to clop about in freezing temperatures on a horse, they just laugh at him. Heidebroek, it's useful to note, sequesters herself away in the modernized capitol city of Bucharest. If she wants to saddle up every morning, well, I say good luck. But there’s no reason that her equestrian whimsy should force actual Rosia Montana residents to do the same.

But Heidobroek’s wistful fantasies about poverty are nothing compared to those of the World Wildlife Fund’s Mark Fenn. Fenn opposes a proposed mine in Fort Dauphin, Madagascar on the grounds that it would destroy “the quaintness, the small-town feeling” that he so admires.

Of course, while Fenn, who boasts on camera of his $35,000 boat and the foundation of his new beachfront home, luxuriates in first world comfort, most of the town’s residents live in dire poverty. When asked why locals should be denied the economic opportunity that would come with the mine, he calmly explains that, although they might not have terribly good healthcare, or shelter, or nutrition, they have a stress-free life that can be valued by — I kid you not — the number of times they smile per day. Even if they did get money, he explains, they wouldn’t know how to spend it. As he tells it, they tend to blow their cash on parties, booze, and stereo systems. Not everyone, it appears, can have his taste in beach houses and catamarans.

Fenn’s attitude isn’t just witless, it’s sickening, and it’s indicative of the general level of smug, out-of-touch elitism that haunts the environmental movement. “Regional character,” “simple life,” “quaintness,” “small-town feeling,” “local history” — these are just warm, fuzzy phrases trotted out by anti-growth environmentalists to deny wealth and opportunities to residents of poor regions. And, as in Fenn’s case, they’re often markers of ugly condescension toward third-world residents.

McAleer, on the other hand, treats the locals in the areas he visits with respect. He asks one Fort Dauphin resident what she’d do with the money she’d get for a job, and she says she’d buy an item at a low price and sell it for a higher price — a line that drew much applause from the audience at the premiere.

Before venturing into the world of documentary film, McAleer worked as a journalist for the Financial Times and the U.K. Sunday Times. The experience shows. Mine Your Own Business works in no small part because of its smart, thoughtful storytelling, its expertly edited juxtapositions of activist claims and local realities, and its strong characterizations. Nor is it burdened by any of the lazy boosterism that infects so much documentary filmmaking. Instead, it’s a compellingly rendered journalistic narrative that casts a skeptical eye on many of the dubious claims of the environmental Left.

McAleer, of course, has his biases. The film begins by explaining that much of its funding came from Gabriel Resources, the company that wants to put in the mine. But McAleer also makes clear that he took the money on the condition that the company would have no editorial control. In a question and answer session after the film, he claimed to come from a liberal background and said that, on his first trip to Rosia Montana, he had intended to tell a typical story about big bad corporations. The facts of the story, however, were too obvious to ignore.

Before the film began, Thor Halvorssen, founder of the Motion Picture Institute, an organization devoted to aiding in the creation of films that promote a free society (and one of the groups responsible for the film’s production), introduced it by noting the protesters outside and the virulent reaction from Greenpeace. “To people who are intolerantly devoted to their own views,” he said, “this is pornography — political pornography.” The comparison is strong, but apt. As Mine Your Own Business makes clear, the left’s environmentalist fringe sees nothing as more revolting than the truth.

Full disclosure: The Washington, D.C. premiere I attended was partially sponsored by the Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI) which, at the time of showing, was my employer. Neither I nor CEI had any input or involvement whatsoever into the film’s production.

— Peter Suderman is managing editor of NRO.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Statement on efforts by environmentalists to stop screening in Washington DC




It is sad that as Romanians celebrate their entry into the European Union and all the democratic and human rights that come with their membership Greenpeace and other international environmental organizations are trying to re-impose censorship and totalitarianism.

The current campaign by Greenpeace and 80 other international NGOs to ban the screening of our documentary Mine Your Own Business is a sad indication of these group’s attitudes towards the people they claim they want to protect.

Seventeen years after the Romanian people overthrew communism in a revolution that cost over 1000 lives Romanians are once again being ordered how to live and work by Greenpeace and other environmental organizations.

And just like the communists of old Greenpeace now wants to control what the Romanian people see in the cinema and are even trying to stop our documentary being shown in Washington.

Their campaign to have the premiere of our documentary banned in Washington by calling on the National Geographic Society, which is providing the venue, to cancel the booking is shocking and a chilling reminder that totalitarianism and intolerance takes many forms.

We are saddened by the actions of Greenpeace and the other international organizations. If the National Geographic cancels the booking we pledge to screen the documentary regardless.

A cancellation would be sad for us as filmmakers but it would be tragic for the communities we have visited in Rosia Montana, Madagascar and Chile. These impoverished communities know that the proposed mines are their only chance for a clean environment and a prosperous future for them and their children.

A series of statements have been released today in the campaign to ban our documentary. They contain so many lies and exaggerations that it would be impossible to correct them all. Below we will refute just some of the misleading claims.

There is no widespread local opposition to the mine at Rosia Montana. In the most recent local elections pro mining candidates received 90 per cent of the vote.
Alburnus Maior, the group which is leading the campaign against the mine, is dominated by foreigners.
The role of foreigners in opposing the project was recognized by the Goldman foundation who awarded Swiss environmentalist Stefanie Roth the Goldman Prize in 2005.

It is often claimed the Goldman Prize is the “Nobel Prize of the environmental world. “According to the Goldman Foundation Ms Roth was awarded the prize because of her leading role in opposing the proposed goldmine at Rosia Montana.

In addition there is no truth to the claim by Mr David that the any footage in Mine Your Own Business was stolen. The Goldman Foundation gave us permission to use the footage.

For those people interested in lies being told about Rosia Montana we invite you to go to the Alburnus Maior website On the front page it is announced: “the illegal process of forced resettlement has already begun.” This is a lie. No one has been forced from their home. We now call on to produce documentary evidence of illegal forced resettlements or to apologise and remove this claim from their website.

Rosia Montana is heavily polluted from historic mining. The river running through the village is a bright orange. The proposed mine by Gabriel Resources has a plan to clean it up. Greenpeace or Alburnus Maior have no such plan. They want to preserve the people of Rosia Montana in poverty because they believe it is part of their culture.

Those who have seen Mine Your Own Business will have seen Francioise Heidebroek, a Belgian citizen and leading member of Alburnus Maior, state in all seriousness that the people of Rosia Montana prefer to ride a horse and cart rather than drive a car because it is part of their lifestyle.

We asked the people of Rosia Montana if this was correct but our questions were greeted with disbelief from puzzled villagers.

Greenpeace, Albrunus Maior and 80 international NGO’s do not want the people of Washington or Romania to see Mine Your Own Business. They believe in censorship and closing down the voices of people who are so seldom heard.

Our documentary tells the truth about the lives of the people of Rosia Montana. We welcome a debate about the project.

We now challenge Mr Eugen David and Stefanie Roth to a public debate in Rosia Montana on the project. We are confident that such a debate free from the censorship that Greenpeace and its allies wish to impose would show the truth about the lives of the people of Rosia Montana.

Phelim McAleer

Ann McElhinney

January 23rd 2007

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Recent Press Articles

Below are links to recent press articles about Mine Your Own Business

The Guardian
click here

Irish Times article Wednesday November 1st 2006
click here

Television coverage for MYOB

PrimeTime November 2nd 15 minutes
click here

RTE Six One News Ireland November 1st
click here

The Sun Herald - Nov 19th, 2006

Below is an article which was published in Sydney's Sun Herald.
Click on image to enlarge.

Saturday, October 07, 2006

Where to see the film

Tour Dates Announced

Mine Your Own Business in association with the Moving Picture Institute ( announces an eight campus tour of the US.

Tuesday Oct 17 - Michigan State University (Lansing, MI)
Location of Screening: 105 South Kedzie Hall
Time and Date of Screening 10/17/06 @ 6:50pm

Wednesday Oct 18 - Ohio State University (Columbus, OH)
Location of Screening: 180 Hagerty Hall @ 8:00pm 10/18/06

Thursday Oct 19 - University of Indiana (Bloomington, IN)

Friday Oct 20 - University of Wisconsin (Madison, WI)

Monday Oct 23 Monday- Washington University (St. Louis, MO)

Wednesday Oct 25 Wednesday Vanderbilt University (Nashville, TN)
Location of Screening: 115 Wilson Hall - between 21st Avenue South and West End Ave.
Meet the Filmakers at 6:30, Movie showing at 7:00

Thursday Oct 26 – Thursday Emory (Atlanta, GA)

Monday October 30- Ann Arbour University of Michigan
Location of Screening: White Hall @ 6:00pm on 10/26/2006

Wednesday November 1st London Institute Of Economic Affairs
Click here

East Coast Tour Dates Announced

Wednesday November 8th Harvard

Location of Screening: Emerson 108

Friday 10th November Yale University,

Time: 4:00 pm

Monday 13th November Brown University
details to follow

City Screening of Mine Your Own Business in Seattle November 16th

Free Sneak Preview

Guild 45 Theater
7 PM

2115 North 45th
Seattle, WA 98103
(206) 781-5755

Click here for trailer

The Institute of Public Affairs announces a four city tour of Australia and Tasmania for Mine Your Own Business

Please join us at the folllowing locations for a screening of the film and to meet the film makers:

Melbourne, 20 November 2006
Arthur Streeton Auditorium, Sofitel Melbourne, 25 Collins Street.

Hobart, 21 November 2006
Old Woolstore Theatrette, 1 Macquarie Street.

Sydney, 22 November 2006
Dendy Opera Quays, Shop 9, 2 East Circular Quay.

Perth, 23 November 2006
Cinema Paradiso, 164 James St, Northbridge.

Phelim McAleer on KOA 850 AM (Denver, Colo.)

Jon Caldara interviews MPI Fellow Phelim McAleer on KOA 850 AM (Denver, Colo.). Podcast available at the Independence Institute’s Click here to listen to the podcast.

Rocky Mountain News


Sunday Telegraph