Mining People Matters

Steve Heather

Steve Heather, Managing Director and Co-founder of Mining People International (MPi).

Here are some real-life facts about mining and minerals

Geologist at work

The Australian mining industry must be more proactive about promoting the incredible things mining allows humanity to achieve – including creating a cleaner future.

The Minerals Council of Australia has created an excellent, very clear piece of pictorial research that outlines exactly how important the mining industry is to our modern way of life.

Called 30 Things, it’s a document I encourage everyone in the industry to read and share, because it is exactly the sort of proactive activity we need to see from our professional associations. (And in my case, I refer both to mining industry groups and to the recruitment industry.)

Here are some excerpts.

30 everyday things mining makes possible

Aluminium keeps your fish fresh

Aluminium helps preserve sardines, transport Coca-Cola and make coffee pods.

A lifetime of energy in a golf ball

Sure, uranium has storage issues we need better technology to manage, but it is surely worth the effort when you consider a golf-ball-sized piece of nuclear material provides a lifetime of energy for one human being.

Like the DeLorean time machine in the Back To The Future movies, electric cars are also back to the future

In 1899 (that’s right: eighteen ninety-nine) 90% of New York City’s taxi cabs were electric vehicles, powered by rechargeable batteries. The creation of a more advanced combustion engine and the expansion of highways caused sales to fall away.

The mining industry is increasingly moving to off-grid wind and solar power generation for remote projects (You can read more about that here and here.)

Solar panels and wind turbines are made from dozens of different mined minerals, critical to their effective operation.

The war of facts versus bias

We’ve seen a couple of these sorts of campaigns and initiatives from industry associations in recent times. The Recruitment Consulting and Staffing Association of Australia and New Zealand (RCSA) created a very successful #LoveYourWork campaign, to stand up for the recruitment industry in the face of biased attacks from the union movement.

Similarly, what I love about the Minerals Council’s effort is that rather than simply wait for the government to propose a new mining tax or piece of mining red tape, and then react to it, they have produced this excellent piece of proactive, fact-driven information.

It’s the sort of things kids across the country can use in school assignments, teachers can use in lessons about mining, and the general population can read and inform themselves with.

Some will no doubt say it is biased propaganda, but the Minerals Council advises me they went to great trouble to use publicly available information and only verified facts to ensure the piece of work was objective.

Standing up for ourselves

Besides, aren’t we, as an industry, allowed to stand up for ourselves – particularly in the face of often widely distributed misinformation?

I see it as simply providing a balance to the also biased but often factually incorrect “dangerous, dirty and low-tech” picture of mining often painted by others.

Now, it’s time to get more of this into schools to inspire younger people to take up the noble profession of mining and mining processing and explain objectively the absolutely critical role the mining industry is playing in helping the planet move to a reduced reliance on carbon.

 

Thank you again to the Minerals Council of Australia. I encourage you to read and widely share this excellent piece of work.