Raw Materials and Transport: Participants’ interactions

11 min read

Beyond the build-up physical campus and its mirror, where most heavy industrial production occurs, is cropland and pastures, where the community produces its food. Beyond this, there are the hinterlands and wilderness. In these areas, the community extracts raw materials for use in production, manages the environment, and maintains the infrastructure that connects communities.

Huge pit for raw material extraction

The Raw Materials and Transport Agency is in charge of these areas, monitoring the way raw material extraction is undertaken, managing claims and rights of extraction, and collaborating with other community agencies within the community and elsewhere to set up transport channels.

Raw material extraction

Raw materials extraction and royalties/ licenses

Raw materials are extracted in the community’s hinterlands. A community, based on its needs and preliminary evidence that suggests the presence of a raw material, engages contractors who perform prospecting services. if they are successful, the community, through the Raw Materials and Transport Agency, takes up the claim, and licenses miners to extract the raw material. The mining license fee is 4% of the revenues that the miner earns by extracting the resource.

In other instances, a business may establish a need for a raw material, and set out to prospect for it. This can be in the community’s hinterlands, or on other land outside the community. When they are successful, they file their claims with the agency. The agency takes up ownership of the claim, and issues licenses for it. The prospecting business has the first right to mine. If it wishes to do so, it pays a license fee of 2%. If not, another business that is awarded the license pays the agency 4%. 25 is retained by the company, while the claim filer receives 2% oof the revenues earned by the extractor.

The license fees/ royalties that the Raw Materials and Transport Agency earns are used to fund further prospecting activities. They are also used to pay a return on investment to the Capital Bank, which invests funds in the agency for operations, and loan repayments to the Commercial Bank Agency.

Cooperation between communities in raw materials’ extraction

To geographical and climate circumstances, among other factors, it is highly improbable that a community will be self-sufficient and sustainable. To address need for raw materials that it does not possess, the community collaborates with other communities in a NewVista1 so that their collective hinterlands and other land they control can be prospected and raw material extracted. In this case, each community has a stake in mines that are developed and mined under the auspices of a NewVista.

If one community has oil deposits, for example, other communities that do not have oil will collaborate in developing that oil field, but will pay a certain percentage of the value of oil they extract to the community with the oil deposits.

The result of collaboration means that the NewVista obtains around 90% in value of raw materials they need for self-sustenance, requiring it to import only 10% of the needed raw materials. Besides making up any shortfall in raw materials, importation improves diversity, and helps improve business  ties between communities and NewVistas.

The Raw Materials and Transport Agency cooperates with other agencies in other communities in a NewVista to ensure well-coordinated mining operations. This collaboration serves several purposes, key among them the regulation of competition, so that, while there is strong competition between raw material extractors, it is not too much to stifle the viability of individual businesses.

Transport

While vehicular traffic is not allowed within the physical plant, different modes of transport – air, road, and rail are extensively used to transport people and materials from the community to the hinterlands and far-flung farmland, as well as other communities.

Movement from the built-up community to fairly distant farmland, pastures, and external resorts is by vehicles. The Raw Materials and Transport Agency develops the roads used for this transportation. The cars participants use, as well as lorries to transport produce and materials to and from the farmland are leased from the Business Operations Agency. Due to road specifications, Raw Materials and Transport advise on which type of vehicles can be used on different types of roads. ‘

Besides connecting the community and some of the surrounding areas, roads will also connect neighboring communities. The Council of 50 is a body consisting of the presidencies of Capital Bank executive presidency in a NewVista. The council collaborates on inter-community projects including transport infrastructure, with each community that will be served by such infrastructure having a corresponding investment and stake. Each Capital Bank’s investment in the projects is structured as part investment and part loan to its community’s Raw Materials and Transport Agency.

Once completed, a community’s stake in the investment is managed by the Raw Materials and Transport Agency. Among other things, the agency raises revenue to repay the loans owed to the Capital Bank and also pays a return on the investment the bank had put. The agency’s revenue comes from the toll fees it collects from road users.

High speed transport

External resorts, more distant pastures, and mines are primarily accessed through air transport. The community has planes that it leases to limited partners to operate air transport. Unlike modern air transport, which transports dozens of passengers per flight, planes in the community are much smaller, transporting only 5 – 10 people per trip. The smaller number of people allows for far greater flexibility in scheduling, allowing more people to fly. Each hub in the community will have a pad from which airplanes can fly. This will greatly ease access to air services, and eliminate the need for expansive, costly airports that are built on land that could otherwise be used for other things.

Besides connecting the community to its more remote areas, air transport is also used to connect communities. Rail transport will also be used, especially at high speed for participants, and normal railroads for transporting bulky cargo.

Another mode of transport that will be extensively used to connect communities will be a super-speed tube transport system. This will involve traveling in capsules, which use tubes that have been evacuated of air, and use electromagnetic waves. The capsule will be able to achieve extremely high speeds – in the region of 10,000 km/hr, meaning that a person can travel from Moscow to San Francisco in under 1 hour.

As with other transport infrastructure, the Raw Materials and Transport Agency will construct and maintain the tube transport and railroads, with participants providing services with equipment leased from the Business Operations Agency.

helicopter

 Environmental protection

The Raw Materials and Transport Agency is additionally charged with managing the environment, especially in the hinterlands and areas used for raw materials’ extension. The agency works with businesses that operate in the hinterlands to ensure responsible exploitation of natural resources and restoration of sites once extraction is completed.

Mining areas’ reclamation

To mine ore, ballast, precious metals, and other raw materials, miners may use open pits, and tunnels, among other methods that best suit the nature of the raw material and terrain and available technologies. Once production has stopped, many sites are an eyesore and a public health hazard. For instance, the Big Hole in South Africa is more than 200 meters deep, with water occupying close to 40 meters. The hole has little else to offer besides being a tourist attraction and is closed to the public.

In other instances, material that would have otherwise never made it to the surface, mainly sulfidic rocks, is exposed to precipitation. They combine with water to form sulfuric acid, a phenomenon known as acid mine drainage. The water is highly destructive to marine life, as well as animal, plant, and human health.

acid mine drainage

The reclamation of mines happens during and after the mining operations. It is very difficult to restore the land to the state it was in physically, but this can be achieved from an environmental perspective. First, during the mining operation, the topsoil is carefully stored since it will be used after the mining operations are over. If the mine uses open pit extraction, the slopes that form are constantly stabilized, preventing excess erosion and making the final reclamation easier. Once the mine ceases operations, it is revegetated, using the topsoil to plant grasses and trees that were native to the area before mining began.

Where the reclamation cannot be done this way, other methods are present. For instance, the big pits that form due to mining can be used as flood control. This provides a huge source of water for irrigation and industry as well. They can also be used for recreation, including fishing, rowing, picnics, and hikes.

To manage rehabilitation, any business that is extracting raw materials pays reclamation costs a part of its revenues to the Raw Materials and Transport Agency. The agency opens an escrow account with the Capital Bank, in which the funds are held as an investment, earning a return. The investment enables the Capital Bank to offer more loans for mining operations, both in its own right and by capitalizing the Community and Commercial Bank agencies.

The amount that should be deposited in the escrow account is arrived at after an initial assessment, and regular follow-ups to help determine the likely cost of rehabilitation. Therefore, one miner may be depositing 10% of the value extracted, while another would only need 2%.

Other businesses specialize in rehabilitating mining areas. Reclamation is not a one-off event that happens once a mine has been decommissioned. Instead, it happens during and after mining operations. The amount of money accumulated in the escrow account may be less or more than the actual cost of rehabilitation. Most times, however, the approximation will be very close to the actual figure due to regular monitoring and ongoing reclamation.

Forests and Wilderness Management

Besides reclaiming mines, the agency also manages forests that are within the community’s hinterlands. A key element in management is regular, targeted harvesting of old wood and management of undergrowth. A second part of forest management is controlling access to forests by humans, their livestock, and wild animals so that a perfect balance can be created, where all beneficiaries derive the value they need from forests.

Wildfires, while rarely than they once were, are today more intense than they have ever been. One reason is that societies are now more successful at suppressing wildfires whenever they occur. However, some wildfires are naturally occurring, and play an important role in forest regeneration. Therefore, suppressing fires provides the next fire with huge amounts of fuel, making them impossible to manage.

By carefully studying and managing forests and wildfires, intense, destructive fires can be prevented. Another technique is thinning, where smaller, less fire-resistant trees and vegetation are removed, making wildfires’ spread harder, while still maintaining the forest’s authenticity. These methods require rigorous monitoring to prevent abuse.

Illustrations

 The Raw Materials and Transport Agency interacts with participants through its automated system and contractors who run various services under contract from the agency. The agency does not have operational presidencies, with the executive presidency’s strategy and policy decisions being implemented by contractors, and through the automated system. Here are some illustrations of how participants interact with the agency.

Illustration 1

Ian is a limited partner in a NewVistas community in Maryland. He is a trained geologist, and before joining the community, worked with a big oil explorer in another North Dakota. He joined by first working with a limited partner who contracted him to offer contracting services on mines he was running outside the community.

The community in which Ian is a participant, as well as other neighboring communities that belong to the same NewVista have not found any oil deposits, and are currently importing their crude oil requirements from other communities and sellers both at home and abroad.

While Ian was working in North Dakota, he had taken an interest in different areas of Ohio that had never been exploited for oil. He had carefully studied the rock formations, undertaken some initial surveys, and was convinced that there was oil there. However, his employer then dismissed such ideas and felt it was a reckless waste of money.

In the community, Ian develops a business plan to present to the relevant agencies. In it, he proposes rigorous scientific exploration of a few sites he has identified. The areas in question are on land owned by his brother, who is a large-scale corn farmer in the state. His brother is highly supportive and will agree to approve his exploration.

Ian collects the relevant evidence at his disposal, conducts additional surveys, and presents his findings to the Business Planning Agency. The Agency refers the matter to other contractors with expert knowledge in oil exploration for further advice. They conclude that indeed, Ian has a plausible case for the availability of oil on the land. His plan is approved, and he can embark on his adventure.

From his past work on the site, Ian feels that non-invasive techniques such as gravity and magnetic surveys will do the trick. He hires the equipment from the Business Operations Agency. He also contracts two people he worked with when they were interns before he joined the community. He signs a legal agreement with his brother on the rights he will acquire if he discovers oil. His brother will continue his farming, while potential oil mining will be done through non-intrusive ways to enable this.

Sure enough, after a few weeks, Ian has the proof that indeed, there are oil deposits beneath his brother’s farm. He performs a test drill, which confirms his findings, and enables him to take the oil for lab tests. He now has all the data needed, and he files a claim with the agency.

The agency is satisfied with the claim after its assessment. It proceeds to file a claim with the federal authorities to secure its finding. It also assumes ownership of the rights from Ian.

Despite his experience, Ian does not feel that he can undertake the enormous drilling operation. He allows the agency to advertise and grant the rights to another limited partner with experience in drilling. Ian will receive 2% of the value of oil pumped from the land, with the agency retaining another 2%.

The community, through this agency, explores several ways through which the oil will be delivered from Ohio, refined, and distributed to other communities in the NewVista. It decides against a pipeline, due to the negative press it is likely to get for interfering with ecosystems, the costs, and the time taken to build a pipeline. There are already dependable railroads between the oil field to an area near the community. The agency will extend the rail line to its mirrored blocks, where refining will happen.

The agency invites tenders for transport and logistics experts, as well as refiners, to get the oil from the field to the community. With everything in place, drilling, transportation, and refining can no longer happen, with Ian’s community now selling both crude and refined products to other communities around it.

Illustration 2

Ben is an environmental scientist who specializes in helping miners operate their mines in a fashion that makes it easier to perform reclamation once mining is over. He is usually contracted by the agency as well, once a mine has ended its operations, to reclaim the land on which it was based.

During mining operations, Ben advises miners on how their operations can be streamlined to make reclamation costs low, and the exercise itself easier. One of the methods he advocates for, and which services he provides, is the stabilization of slopes as mining is happening, preventing accidents, but also ensuring that in the future, the mine will be usable for other activities.

In addition, he advises businesses to close their underground mining operations the moment they cease operations, so that they can be secured, and future rehabilitation will be easier.

In rehabilitating mines, Ben is not only focused on restoring the environment. He also wants the landscapes formed by mining to be beneficial to the community. For instance, when reclaiming land that was a mine, he deliberately leaves some interesting elements of the mine, so that it can be developed as a tourist attraction or for educational and training purposes.

Recently, Ben was engaged by a mine that was closing down. The miner had contacted the Raw Materials and Transport Agency, which had provided him with a few specialists he could engage. He felt Ben fit the bill because he had extensive experience in similar mines.

Ben undertook a thorough survey of the site, and decided, after consultations with the miner, to perform a progressive closure over a few months. During this phase, known as passive mine closure, Ben would take samples of water that originated or was in contact with the mine, test it for toxicity and other undesirable characteristics, and prescribe effective remedies.  He would also undertake engineering surveys of the pit to test whether its walls could be used as flood control and converted into a lake.

His analysis shows that instead, and due to the presence of other similar facilities, he can fill up the pit to a large extent, leaving a shallow depression that will be revegetated and once again be host to various species of native plants and wildlife.

The various activities that Ben undertakes are funded by the Raw Materials and Transport Agency. The agency uses funds in the specific escrow account it opened with the Capital Bank for the mine’s reclamation. For some aspects of the contract, Ben enters into business agreements with other businesses, which offer their services to specific areas, while he is in charge of rehabilitation and presenting the land back to the community as a vibrant area, the same way or better than it was before mining operations began.

  1. A NewVista is a collection of 50 communities that are located reasonably close to each other. []