November 2013

President's notes

It is time to speak up

By Robert Schafer

Over the past couple of decades one of the most common themes that I have heard from mining industry spokespeople is that we need to do a better job of telling our story. Or, more specifically, people would not be so critical of the industry if they only realized the contribution it makes to their comfortable lifestyles. Lastly, I have heard some say, with a lot of exasperation, that people just do not understand mining!

We always conclude that we do not communicate well as corporations or as an industry. Yet, when the chance arises to tell our story, usually as a response to a challenge from a green advocacy group or a politician trying to curry favour and win votes, we shy away from the opportunity and remain silent.

The mining industry needs to be far more proactive and unified in its communications strategies. We need to adopt innovative ways to connect to society. Let us move beyond congratulating ourselves for providing the base materials for indispensible technologies like laptops, smart phones and communication networks. Let us put them to good use. We need to tell the world that we have the technologies to build, operate and close mines without harming the greater ecosystem. We must show that mining is providing jobs and improving skill levels and capacity in communities and nations. We should let governments know that mining-related investments multiply their tax and royalty proceeds through our stimulation of spin-off and support businesses. We have to convince the current and coming generations that employment in mining is modern, intellectually challenging, and uses the best of innovative, computer-driven technologies, and is a rewarding and fun career.

We must do a better job of communicating all of this. Let us invest in telling our story. The results will be worth the time, dollars and commitment.

Robert Schafer
CIM President

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