August 2011

All thanks to you

Rex Murphy takes the stage at the CIM Conference & Exhibition Closing Lunch

By Hartley Butler George


Photo credit: Normand Huberdeau / NH Photographes Ltée.

Veteran broadcaster Rex Murphy’s keynote speech at the CIM Conference & Exhibition 2011 Closing Lunch cited essayist Samuel Johnson’s maxim that “people often need to be reminded more than they need to be informed.” Murphy applauded the efforts of the mining community by reminding them that they were “responsible for underpinning all the great accomplishments of the modern world.”

“The people engaged in the primary industries that keep this society going have no need to be carrying around some phantom weight of guilt or reluctance,” said Murphy. “Apology as a practice is not the route to progress. You should be taking deep confidence from what it is you have accomplished.”

He recalled a story of a close friend who was affected by the collapse of the Newfoundland fisheries in the early 1990s, when 31,000 fishermen were left unemployed. He rebuilt his family’s life by moving to Fort McMurray, where the oil boom was beginning. He found a job, took courses, and landed a job inspecting mines that eventually led to work on a Nigerian oil rig.

“When I hear the oil sands decried by the great liberated minds of either the environmental movement at its most strident or by the academics,” said Murphy, “I never hear the inventory of the other side, of all the good that has been done, of all the social misery that has not come to pass, of the lives that have been rescued by reasonable employment.”

Murphy spoke about the importance of mining to the developed world: “If we are to maintain the advances that we have, to extend the wealth that we have, keep the security that we take for granted…all these things in some way or other begin at raw materials and at energy,” he said.

Following Murphy’s speech, current CIM president Chuck Edwards thanked outgoing president Chris Twigge-Molecey for his hard work and commitment to CIM. Twigge-Molecey expressed what an honour it has been to serve as president, and assured the crowd that they were “in great hands going forward.”

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