Mine Your Own Business

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Mine Your Own Business
Mine Your Own Business tposter.JPG
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Phelim McAleer and Ann McElhinney[1]
Produced by Phelim McAleer and Ann McElhinney
Written by Phelim McAleer
Narrated by Phelim McAleer
Cinematography Ian Foster
Edited by Mairead McIvor
Release date
  • 17 October 2006 (2006-10-17)
Country United States
Language English

Mine Your Own Business is a 2006 documentary film directed and produced by Phelim McAleer and Ann McElhinney about the Roșia Montană mining project. The film documents environmentalists' opposition to the mine as unsympathetic to the needs and desires of the locals, prevents industrial progress, and consequently locks the people of the area into lives of poverty. The film shows that the majority of the people of the village support the mine, and the investment in their hometown.[2] The film presents foreign environmentalists as alien agents opposed to progress, while residents are depicted as eagerly awaiting the new opportunity.[3]

Film content[edit]

The documentary follows Gheorghe Lucian, a 23-year-old unemployed miner from the Roşia Montană in northern Romania, whose chance of a new job disappeared after an anti-mining campaign orchestrated by foreign environmentalists. The contested mining project was expected to bring in a $1 billion investment and generate 600 jobs in an area where unemployment is 70 percent. After investigating the Romanian mine, the director McAleer and Lucian then travel to other impoverished communities in Madagascar and Chile that are also waiting for large mining projects.[4]

In the documentary, Lucian meets Mark Fenn from the World Wildlife Fund, who is shown living in luxurious conditions, at one point showing off his $35,000 sailboat to the cameras, all the while advocating the value of living a simplistic, village life.[5]

Stated purpose[edit]

Director Phelim McAleer has stated in interviews that the film, in its essence, is not really at all a story about mining, but rather, "It is a story about human rights. The human right to a job, the human right to have your children educated, the human right to see your child reach their first birthday." He cites among other serious concerns, the fact that high infant mortality rates are closely correlated with the sort of poverty that afflicts the region.[6]

The film notes that the foreign environmentalists who are barring the industrial development of the area are, at best, too far removed from the people of Roşia Montană to understand their true needs and desires, and at worst, cognizant of the serious problems, and still stubbornly denying them of their right to decide the fate of their own land for themselves. McAleer points out the hypocrisy of the western environmentalists' opposition to the mining of the mineral resources, while the western world itself was built by riches that it pulled from the Earth; to deny the people of Roşia Montană the same sort of development and prosperity, he concludes, is the height of casuistry.

To respond to the claim that the mining operation would destroy Roşia Montană's "quaint" appeal, McAleer also points out that one of the Romanian government's stipulations was that Gabriel Resources would be required to clean up the existing pollution (the soil and water near the village contain high levels of cadmium and lead), and also would be required to maintain a fund with $30 million to be used for further clean-up of the area after the mining company discontinues its operations there.[7]


Criticisms of the film included the claim by environmentalist groups that the film was partly funded by Gabriel Resources, the Canadian mining company behind the proposed project, a fact which the filmmakers readily admit.[8] The filmmakers vehemently reject, however, the implication that this funding affected the content of the film. McAleer even goes so far as to say that (contrary to convention) the funders had "absolutely no control" over the film, and never even saw any part of the film before it was complete, allowing him to create, "in many respects," the "most independent documentary [he had] ever made."[9] The president of Gabriel Resources, Alan Hill, said at the first screening of the movie, "Before, the environmentalists would lob mortars at us and we would keep our heads down. Now, there is a big push back."[8]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Full cast and crew". Retrieved 15 November 2011. 
  2. ^ "Mine Your Own Business, About". Retrieved 21 March 2010. 
  3. ^ Ham, Mary Katharine "The Forgotten Mammal", Townhall.com, 26 January 2007. Article about Mine Your Own Business and the response to it.
  4. ^ "Unsustainable Environmentalism". Fox News Channel. 18 February 2007. Retrieved 21 March 2010. 
  5. ^ "Mine your own business". Spiked. 6 November 2006. Archived from the original on 18 December 2009. Retrieved 21 March 2010. 
  6. ^ "Mine Your Own Business on FOX News's Brit Hume". Retrieved 17 November 2011. 
  7. ^ "MYOB v. Greenpeace on Fox News". Retrieved 17 November 2011. 
  8. ^ a b "Mine your own business, greens tolds". The Sydney Morning Herald. 6 October 2006. Retrieved 21 March 2010. 
  9. ^ "MYOB v. Greenpeace on Fox News". mineYourOwnBusiness. Retrieved 15 November 2011. 

External links[edit]