Mine Your Own Business (Mining Documentary – 2006)

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Mine Your Own Business is a documentary directed and produced by Phelim McAleer and Ann McElhinney in 2006 about the Roșia Montană mining project. The film asserts that environmentalists’ opposition to the mine is 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 claims 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

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 of the film

Director Phelim McAleer has stated in interviews that the film, in is essence, is not really at all a story about mining, but rather, “is a story about human rights. The human right to a job, the human right to get 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 sort of poverty that afflicts the region.[6]

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