Canadian Anthropology Society (CASCA)
Oral Presentation Session
What are the consequences of a mine that may never be built for the people living alongside it? This paper explores these, the buzz impacts, of a proposed large-scale open-pit tungsten and molybdenum mining project in Central Highland New Brunswick. The mine received federal environmental approval in 2017, with the promise of $579-million in investment, 500 new jobs, $500-million in provincial tax revenues, and $7-billion in economic benefits to the provincial economy. While promoters claim the mine will develop one of the largest deposits of tungsten in North America, progress has been slow. In addition, as is often the case, the reception of the project has been contentious. While the provincial government has promoted the mine on the grounds it would create jobs and new economic opportunities, and some people in the region see the mine as a much-needed source of employment, others express concern over collapsed tailings ponds and environmental risks to the Nashwaak River watershed and to local communities. While community meetings and news reports were first held for this project ten years ago, construction has still not yet begun. This paper aims to characterize the buzz phase of this mine to identify its local impacts. Geographically, the focus is on the headwaters of the Nashwaak River, and the paper draws on ethnography, semi-structured interviews, and workshops to outline the ways rural residents have experienced a mine that does not exist, and that may never exist.