Europe (and INTERPOL) Focus Still Explained by "Strategic Metals"?

INTERPOL announced 30 days of "recycling crime" enforcement this week.

On this I will give them points - They are targeting automobile "recycling crime" and waste exports, and not as many of the photos seem to show reuse or Tech Sector imports. I believe Fair Trade Recycling (WR3A) has been effective in reducing the enforcement agency's obsession with "e-waste exports".

The photo of lead-zinc ore for sale from Africa's most toxic mine (Kabwe in Zambia) is apparently legal.  There's no law targeting the most toxic activity on the planet, because it isn't "waste"... so there is no fetish attached to it.

I love INTERPOL's focus on tigers and elephants and shark fins and ocean dumping. I'm enthusiastic about illegal forestry and charcoal trade. But what explains INTERPOL's strange obsession with recycling, when MINING is so much worse for Africans and the planet?

Mining lead-zinc ore from Africa's forests, for sale to Asia and Europe, is legal.

But it is apparently not legal for Africans to buy back scrap metal?

Interpol's focus on tigers, ivory, sharks, endangered species, is critically important. But until Interpol hires Tech Sector experts to distinguish between second-hand goods and waste, and identifies scrap metal as a raw material rather than "waste", they should not dilute their enforcement of clearly criminal activity.

Still, the photos INTERPOL presents on Twitter appear to show junkyard metal scrap. It appears to be for scrap recycling. The buyers apparently paid for the shipping (a European didn't pay someone to take it). And that reminds us of the "waste tourist" claims from as recently as Interpol's 2015 Report.

As we revealed on this blog, the "waste tourists" Interpol Tweeted about this week were African reuse equipment buyers, who come to inspect the quality of goods before they pay to import it. The "waste tourists" came to the UK to make sure they were NOT paying for junk.

While the latest Interpol "Recycling Crime" enforcement appears to target scrap (fewer photos of reuse shipments), there remains an unfortunate appearance of a focus on retaining "strategic metals" in EU's circular economy. Mining is FAR worse for the environment than even the worst recycling.

The second and third photos (displays imported to Africa in 2006, 2016) continue to raise suspicion.

Did you ever look at the 2011 UK House of Commons "Strategic Metals and Minerals" Report?  It was during prosecution of Joe Benson (and halfway between the photos) when UK Env Agency prosecutor declared "common knowledge" that "80%" of Benson's goods would be dumped.

Yet the House of Commons report estimated the non-functioning at 19% (a fairly specific estimate).  The HOC declared nevertheless, European mining had become too toxic and expensive, and EU needed to retain the metals by stopping the reuse exports.

In that context, I wonder why no one writes about Kabwe's primary ore mining.


I don't think so.  I just think Interpol should stick to endangered species, sex trafficking, gun-running, and hazardous waste.

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