Dec '07/Jan '08

Voices from Industry

Let’s go mining!

By E. Beswick

What an honour to be asked to write a piece for the Voices from Industry page, especially during this exciting time of new discoveries, new mines and mine expansions.

What is mining all about? What is CIM all about? Broadly speaking, isn’t mining about helping people live and prosper in a sustainable society? We each have our own personal perspectives and goals in life, and mining can help us achieve these goals. CIM, too, has a great role to play. As a largely volunteer-based organization, CIM provides its members with excellent networking and venue capabilities including opportunities to share knowledge, increase our awareness on important technological advancements and issues, meet new people, and reunite with old classmates, friends and work colleagues.

This is the time to go mining. Headhunters have never been busier. Opportunities for new challenges or to grow and add more value in the present situation, whatever it may be, are available to us. The door has never been more inviting to many of our retired colleagues who are getting involved again as senior consultants, advisors or even as directors and presidents of many emerging or expanding mining companies. Welcome back! Also, at the other end of the spectrum, universities are fine tuning their respective earth science departments to ensure people develop our mines responsibly. Let’s all open the door to mining and welcome as many new students to CIM in 2008 as we can.

The technological advancement of mining has come an extremely long way since Georgius Agricola’s De Re Metallica in 1556, less than 500 years ago. In fact, mining reclamation laws in Canada are, at the most, 50 years old and environmental stewardship practices and our understanding of mining and the environment continues to improve, as technology presses things like detection limits and innovative environmental protection practices, including ongoing and post mine reclamation techniques. CIM is now, more than ever, playing an active role in local educational institutions, particularly through student chapters and through support from our local branches. Make no mistake, it is through advances in technology, and in particular for us, mining and processing technology, that our future world will be sustainable and, over the short and long term, a better place to live.

CIM provides crucial links to groups like SME, AusIMM, SAIMM, MAC and PDAC, among others, to help advance sustainable mining practices worldwide. As Canadians, we need to show leadership on things like improving efficiencies and global warming science and solutions. But, most of all, we want to ensure our children and grandchildren are proud of what their ancestors achieved.

First Nations, the backbone of many of our mines in Canada, have never been more engaged in helping us develop new mines responsibly. Community and cultural dynamics are ever more important in the process of searching for and developing new ore bodies.

If my title (Let’s go mining) confused you, let me explain. Etched in my memory is one morning in the dry at the Goldstream Mine near Revelstoke in British Columbia. One of the miners, arriving fresh and ready to start the shift, exclaimed “let’s go mining!” as if he couldn’t wait to get out on that old Unimog for a ride far underground to his work face. His enthusiasm was infectious. So let’s get out there and enjoy what we do. Part of the fun of being involved with CIM is knowing that if we work collectively we can contribute to sustaining and improving our society.

In closing, the safety and well-being of our employees and their families must always be our highest priority. Every day, we also need to thank our owners and shareholders for trusting us to make sound decisions with their investments in mining, which is, in my view, the ever most sustainable industry. So, let’s go mining!

Ed Beswick is vice president of CIM District 6.

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