I don't ignore tax/royalty/dividends that may go to the local government in my original post. I partially address this (mine leases in Mali that are in the hundreds-of-thousands-of-dollars per year), but even if the mines are paying "fair" taxes (etc) to the governments, that implies very little about eradicating poverty in a country that is unstable undeveloped. See: Yemen vs Oman. When something like 90% of US foreign aid comes directly back to the United States (source: Baxter's book, which is full of cites, apologies I don't have it available), I am dubious that the taxes paid by natural resource extraction firms will be any more beneficial to the impoverished people of a region.
 Morila did get a $150M loan, yes (source: Joan Baxter). These types of loans usually call for community investment, that is the point of the World Bank (ostensibly anyway), to develop countries, not to make mine owners richer (although you can make a good argument for the inverse! See documentary: Life and Debt
). As to whether they got this loan, I tend to trust Joan Baxter on this matter (she's a BBC correspondent, etc), although I don't have her book handy (I loaned it to a colleague).
 Claims of community reinvestment are now standard practice, sure. Note: you are citing mining companies press released. According to BP's web site they are "unaware of any reason" that would have caused their "share price movement." This just happens to be a timely example, but I think it's a good one, in that it's pretty obvious what caused their share price movement (I assume their argument would be that they are still quite profitable despite their current environmental catastrophe — while that may be true, this argument is spin, at best). I am extremely dubious of any claims made by mining interests as to what they are investing in communities. I'd rather believe neutral sources (like BBC reporters) who actually VISIT these areas and report on what they've seen. "Investing" $240,000 might mean they have a $200,000/yr consultant on payroll and he had $40,000 in expenses while "researching" how to help the community.
Quoting your press released, "in areas where there had been little economic activity other than subsistence farming..." Maybe those farmers were happy. Now there is "economic activity" there, but are the farmers more or less impoverished? I'll bet more. We are debating whether minerals in undeveloped countries bring people out of poverty, mind you, not whether mining companies pay taxes.
 Ghana is the most stable of western African countries, and thus the least applicable to Afghanistan. Nevertheless, I'm happy to talk about it. I'll be spending three months in Ghana this year doing infectious disease work, so I'm reasonably versed on its issues. As you stated, Ghana might be the best case example. Even so, a third of the country lives on less than a dollar a day, and although that percentage has come down a lot, and they may well meet their MDG for poverty by 2015, it's still not great. More than half the country lives on less than $2/day. 40 years ago South Korea and Ghana had the same per capita income (source: council on foreign relations). Still think mining has brought Ghanaians out of poverty? PPP GDP nowadays for Korea = $27000, Ghana = $1400. No contest as to who is still mired in poverty. I'll admit that I have a biased perspective, when I see children dying because their parents couldn't afford the twenty-six cent cost of a measles inoculation, three dollars for malaria treatment, or ten dollars for a bed net. And I have yet to witness mining or oil extraction doing much to help fix this. Sierra Leone, Nigeria, etc, the story is always the same
... as the "subsistence" farmers if their lives are better after the "economic activity" came to their region, and the answer is invariably: NO.
 To address the last sentence of your post, "But, the assumption that mines are inherently destructive, and that mining companies are inherently evil, is wrong." I content this sentence shows you know very little about mining. I'll simply link this report
about gold mining ("Dirty Metals: Mining Communities and the Environment details the massive pollution, huge open pits, devastating community health effects, worker dangers and, in many cases, human rights abuses that have become hallmarks of gold and metals mining in countries such as Peru, Indonesia, Ghana and in parts of the United States."). Or if you don't like my source you can simply google "gold" and mercury/cyanide/pollution/dirty/etc and see what pops up. And just to drop one figure from Baxter's book, a single gold ring can produce 20 tons of mine waste.
Your post was well-written and logical. Thank you for engaging in intelligent discourse (if you look at my prior posts you'll see I rarely reply to those who reply to me, because usually they don't take the time to read + comprehend my original posting). I'd be even happier if you decide to reply again and don't click the AC button. I have work to do now, so I'll see any future replies at a later time (and likely I won't have time to reply), but thanks for your thoughts
... conversations like these are why I read