I have often railed against those unimaginative mining ads that show ladies in hard hats standing in front of a large truck, smiling as they try to look natural and in support of women in mining.
I have often railed against those ads, so beloved by consultants to the mining industry, in which we see a pristine lake, a stream, gushing river, or glass of clean water and an exhortation to contact said consulting company for a commitment to sustainable mining.
Now we have Anglo American delving, as it were, into new waters as they show this impossibly good-looking man-miner making an empty statement: Good Mining, Good Water, Good Manners.
I sort of know what they are trying to say: Let Anglo develop this mine and we promise not to screw up your rivers and streams.
If I am correct, then immense questions arise:
- Can you guarantee this?
- How will you do what you have not hitherto done?
- How will you recompense future generations if your advert is just that, an advert, and the waters are impacted?
I know as well as anybody intimately involved in mining that mining can be done without impacting waters. But I also know from first-hand experience all too many mines where casual folk, ever-changing staff, the vagaries of the commodities market, and shear negligence have impacted waters, both surface and groundwater. I have worked for mining companies where the headoffice is truly committed to clean waters–it is just good practice to drive up the share price, and there is nothing wrong with that. I have worked for mines where concern for waters downgradient of the mine is just a damn nuisance, something imposed by those idiot regulators down the hill. I have read and written papers on the impact of mining operations on water.
In a nutshell, waters downgradient of a mine may be affected by runoff and seepage from these facilities:
- Underground mine workings
- Open pits
- Heap leach pads
- Waste rock dumps
- Tailings and sliimes dams.
Impacts include suspended solids eroded from slopes too steep, unvegetated areas, or careless operations. Acid rock drainage is the ever-present elephant in the parlor. Chemicals added in the plant to enhance recovery may find their way to the perimeter fence and slink under and out and away.
Solutions include mines only in dry climates, filter-pressed tailings, encapsulated acid-generating rock, catch dams, and the perennial bugaboo, namely perpetual treatment of mine waters for generations after mining is no longer sustainable. The solution, believe me, is not a nice ad showing an impossible youth purporting to be a miner.
If that were the case, why soon we might be bombarded by ads of porn stars proclaiming the virtues of mining. Might be entertaining and fun, but no more informative or persuasive than Anglo’s ad.
Here are two more impossible-looking faces for Anglo to use in their next ad. It took only a few seconds of web clicking to find them. I wonder what they think of water. To me it looks as if they do not think. Like Anglo’s young man, they simply appeal to the daughters of the Palins of this world. Why, she may yet marry a pebble miner, if only Sarah & Cynthia could get the mine going. In the meantime, go dance!
Here is how one blogger comments on this posting:
My take is that when a company needs to take out a sizable ad campaign like this one, it’s in need of some serious damage control. Case in point – Anglo American’s involvement in the proposed Pebble Mine. The project, which is in advanced exploration has already been found guilty of three years of water violations – so much for Good Water! And, as for good manners. It’s point man in Alaska – John Shively – recently called opponents of the mine “terrorists” for pursuing legal avenues in court. The opponents to the mine – the so-called “terrorists” – are local fishermen and Alaska Native leaders concerned about the impacts of the proposed mine to the wild salmon fishery that sustains their lives and livelihood. So much for Good Manners! Like I said – damage control!