There are lots of fascinating angles to mining. There’s exploration, geology, travel, geopolitics, risk and reward…..I happen to think a fully mineralized hanging wall is very sexy, all that glittering metal winking at you.
He goes even further with his analogies in this quote:
I’ve never understood why we stand idly by and let a few misguided people with green hair and an internet connection whip the tar out of us. So we’re supposed to dismantle the mining industry? Fine. But isn’t that a bit like telling kids they should abstain from sex to prevent unwanted pregnancies and the spread of STDs? Kids won’t stop having sex and people won’t stop mining. If you ban it they will just go back to using archaic recovery techniques like mercury…..
I presume he refers to mercury in mining and not sex, although Mercury of Olympus fame…well we had better not go there on a public site.
Kevin remarks kindly about this blog but puts me in a class of people “preaching to the already converted.” In search of unconverted acolytes, I found a site that carries this over-the-top praise of the sexiness of mining:
A career in the mining industry can be a rewarding experience, with the opportunity to work in exotic locations with people from a range of backgrounds, and the thrill of being involved in the development of some of the world’s essential resources.
Then there is the observation by the Economist on Generation Y:
Net Geners may be just the kind of employees that companies need to help them deal with the recession’s hazards. For one thing, they are accomplished at juggling many tasks at once. For another, they are often eager to move to new roles or countries at the drop of a hat—which older workers with families and other commitments may find harder to do. Such flexibility can be a boon in difficult times. “In the economic downturn what we are really looking for is hungry 25- to 35-year-olds who are willing to travel,” says Frank Meehan, the boss of a fast-growing mobile-phone applications business that is part of Hutchison Whampoa, a conglomerate based in Hong Kong.
I never though of mining as a place populated by “hungry 25- to 35-year-olds” travelling to exotic places to hang glittering posters of mercury in an attempt to re-order the world. Damn! If only I were younger.
Maybe the time has come for mining industry proponents and philosophers to espouse the Darwin approach. Who can forget being young and reading his two great books, one on the origin of species and the other, far more fascinating to a sex-obsessed twenty-year-old, on the role of sexual selection. Again as the Economist puts it:
For a Darwinian, life is about two things: survival and reproduction. Of the two, the second is the more significant. To put it crudely, the only Darwinian point of survival is reproduction. As a consequence, much of daily existence is about showing off, subtly or starkly, in ways that attract members of the opposite sex and intimidate those of the same sex. In humans—unlike, say, peafowl, where only the cocks have the flashy tails, or deer, where only the stags have the chunky antlers—both sexes engage in this. Men do it more than women, but you need look no further than Ascot race course on Gold Cup day to see that women do it too. Status and hierarchy matter.
I am not advocating that mining companies breed peafowl on the tailings impoundment or run races on the waste rock dump. Just jumping in a plane to fly with a poster to a far away place should be sufficient for the fulfilment of the show-off instinct. And if mining provides sufficient opportunity for lusty 25- to 35-year-olds to show off, why then mining should be a prime candidate for them (and maybe us old folk) to work and preen.
The trick is create lots of status and hierarchy slots in mining for those lusty young. Give them lots of feed-back that promotes ego-development and which allows them to stand tall and proud, with chunky antlers aloft. Or with green hair carefully arranged in spikes.
I do not know how to do this, but if you do please comment below. Thanks.