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A Miner's Guide to Managing Mine Permitting and Public Relations

Joseph L. Danni, Proceedings of 42nd Annual Rocky Mountain Mineral Law Institute (1996)

Complicated and complex strategies are not always the answer to difficult problems. Vanilla is often more acceptable than exotic flavors. And often, peaceful solutions are more appropriate than a good fight. If those preferences can be acknowledged, then there are two principles that can apply to natural resources project permitting and project public relations.

First, there is a school of original thought whose credo is: Creativity may be fine but plagiarism is faster. What this means to me is that very little about permitting, public and community affairs, or political involvement requires special [6-3] creativity or unique approaches. Although there is some of that, most success stories revolve around hard work, perseverance, attention to detail, and commitment.

Second, we must continue to believe in the political process that leads to decision making in this country. Without a doubt, there is much that can and should be improved in the permitting process. Nevertheless, as Horace Mann, an early nineteenth century educator and political activist, was quoted as saying, We go by the major vote, and if the majority are insane, the sane must go to the hospital. In other words, no matter how much you believe in your project and its economic, environmental, and social soundness, it is unlikely to materialize on a timely basis if a majority of the local community