The original of the above figure is available at http://xkcd.com/1007/
The Canadian Institute of Mining (CIM) has just sent me the preliminary program for the May 6 to 9 conference in Edmonton. Here are the papers on sustainable mining:
- Best practices in sustainability reporting in global mining industry (they left out the the before global mining industry) by Andrew Gillam of AMEC.
- Water as a human right: considerations for sustainable management of water resources in the extractive industry by Scott and Khamis of Golder.
- Sustainable considerations for mining transactions: expanding the scope of due diligence (sic) with a view towards the future by L. Nicholas of Environmental Resource Management.
- Implementing sustainable uptime & operational improvements through defect elimination and gateway asset strategies by C. Biel of Hatch.
There are many papers on the related topics of responsible mining and corporate social responsibility.
The SME conference in Seattle starting Monday February 20 has two sessions called: Environmental: Sustainable Development and Corporate Social Responsibility. Not all the papers include the word sustainable in their title. Here are some that do:
- Sustainable development and collaboration organizations for the mining industry: the institution of an NGO by Rogers, Dessureault, and Poulton of the University of Arizona.
- Decision tools for integrating sustainability in project planning and feasibility phases by Ramage and Anderson of CH2M HILL.
- Sustainability for nature and mankind by Javier of EnviroMINE
Clearly the word sustainable is used with different meanings in each of these titles. A linguist could write a thesis on the variations of meaning and intention of the word. The abstract of the paper whose authors include two I admire, namely Dessureault and Poulton, gives you some idea of the incredible range and flexibility of the word sustainable–I mean what has this promotional brochure got to do with things that go on for a long time aka sustainability?’:
The mining industry has faced increased resistance to new projects even while meeting political permit requirements. Interaction between industry, the public, and governments has become increasingly difficult and contentious. Greater collaboration is needed and can be facilitated by independent experts who provide the needed proficiency to examine and make recommendations on key issues. A research university provides an excellent atmosphere in which to develop an organization to act as independent facilitators. The multi-dimensional research (engineering, anthropology, hydrology, and economics) and consulting expertise at a university can be used to support sustainable mineral development. Many of the issues blocking projects are being researched at universities by skilled researchers and ambitious graduate students. Different structures have been used to integrate these skill sets and one common structure has been the use of a Non-Governmental Organization (NGO). This paper will examine what an NGO is and how they are currently used in the mining industry. An examination of current models in the United States and other countries will be given.
‘Fraid I won’t be at either conference. But I would appreciate a copy of the proceedings and even more, your insight into new insights on the meaning of the word sustainable.