Finders & Keepers
Corone Mining Consortium
The Corone Mining Consortium, formed just before the war, is made up of several of the most powerful mining corporations in the ’Verse. Those corporations were having a problem with prospectors mining claims of their own. Individually, the corporations couldn’t muster the resources to put the small fry out of business. By combining, they could afford the best lawyers, pay off the right politicians, and acquire the technology needed to buy up claims, drive people off their land or simply make it unprofitable for the lone miner to keep operating.
The CMC’s strategy is typically this: “try to buy any claim that appears to be worth a full mining operation.”
If that fails: “buy a piece of land nearby, and then encroach on other folk’s claims by digging tunnels underneath them.”
When the locals complain, they are told it was an unfortunate accident that caused the company to strip their assets. Few locals can afford to take the company to court to get back what was stolen. Corone keeps costs down by making use of indentured workers. Some even claim they use slaves, going so far as to pay well for human cargo and never mind where it came from. On the flip side, they’ve been known to employ the locals they put out of business, promoting them to positions of authority and paying good salaries. They recognize the skills these people have, and hope that loyalty can be purchased with platinum or credits. Corone does not operate every mine in the ‘Verse. Not every claim is worth bringing in the expensive technology. Most locals have learned to keep real quiet about any major finds on their land, though Corone agents always seem to be in every two-bit mining town, poking around in the hope that they can loosen a few tongues with bribes, trickery, or threats.
In some areas, the Miners’ Guild has taken on the Corone Consortium and won, bringing about improved condition for workers and justice for those who lost property. Unfortunately this is the exception, not the rule.