The only topic to blog about is the short & long-term future of tailings. These musings are prompted by today’s webcast on tailings by way of thanks to EduMine. Me, Robert Cooke of Patterson and Cooke, plus Ian Hutchison of SES started a three-day, three hours a day webcast on advanced tailings management.
It is too late to join us. We will present it in future, I trust. So join us then. Or take the EduMine written course. Enough here to muse on thoughts prompted by today’s webcast.
I am very optimistic about the future of tailings management, which is without doubt, the most difficult conundrum faced by modern mining. For I truly believe that if you cannot dispose of a mine’s tailings cost-effectively and to the protection of the environment, you should not open the mine or begin mining.
Thus before a mine is allowed to open, the proponents should have demonstrated that the tailings can be placed so that in the long term, post closure, the closed mine will not constitute a drain on society and a negative impact on the environment.
Those monitoring today’s course are the future of this debate. Given that we must mine, the future mines are those that can pass muster by the young who challenge everything we oldies say and know. And today, on the webcast, the young challenged what we said and what we know. And that is as it should be: new ideas, new ideals, and rethinking of all the old wisdom.
We oldies can tell what we did, what we do, and what we would do. Thus the young can hear, learn, think, challenge, and rebuild on the ruins of the old. They must, perforce, question all we say and do and would do. We may answer their questions, we may seek to guide their actions, but we cannot and must not dictate. And that is what happened today: we told; they asked; we exchanged ideas; set out the unknowns; and gave them the roadmap to a road never travelled, but which must be travelled.
They are as we were: filled with energy, cynicism, hope, and the ideal to make things better regardless of what had to be ignored, discarded, destroyed, or quizzed into irrelevance.
So all I can say is: I am optimistic and full of hope for the promise and future of mining as epitomised by successful tailings management managed by those who are mentoring our course. Good for them.