Mining is vital to everything we as a society have and do, but as a
hewer of stone myself, I feel called upon constantly to defend its very
existence. This industry underpins human prosperity, and produces the
core raw material for nearly all that we engage with and value, notwithstanding
our family, friends and pets.
Many people still believe mining is a dirty, unsafe business and ought
to be abolished. That is even more impractical than to say we should stop
using fossil fuels. At least there are alternative fuels. However, there are
no alternatives to mining that have proven effective to this point and a
100 per cent recycling rate of scrap metal allows no opportunity for
growth. Furthermore, a shift toward renewable energy sources is impossible
without the products that come from elements that are mined.
Yes, we miners will always be judged on past practices, but we must
take this in stride. For without the past we cannot learn and grow. We
continue to get better. And yes, there have been failures, but we are constantly
As a geoscientist, I believe in the concept of sustainable development,
which for me means operating in a way that allows for the safe extraction,
transportation and processing of the resources that we rely on to survive,
in a manner that is respectful and will benefit future generations.
We say to those that have a negative perception of mining and its
effects that we take the trust that society bestows upon us seriously and
we believe we have a duty of care.
So we need to keep informing people of mining’s safety record, and
make sure our practices are the best available, but also the best applicable.
When we see a wrong, we need to make it right, and we need to
speak up when we see bad practices.
We will persevere because, despite what others may believe, we know
that mining and its continued health and sustainability is a necessity.
Vivat fodienda . . . long live mining!