For the love of mining and the environment

The mining world as we know it is changing – good quality ore bodies are becoming few and far between, operating costs are rising and investors are tightening their purse strings.

Automaton and mechanisation are also no longer future aspirations or luxuries but necessities that can guarantee improved safety and of equal importance, sustainability.

And at this point I must pause for effect. The word ‘sustainability’ carries with it great responsibility, particularly for industries such as mining that have a crucial role to play in managing the exploitation of the planet’s resources while simultaneously committing to protecting it as well. A bit of a misnomer yes but it’s not impossible.

Read all the articles from Issue 8 or subscribe to receive a print copy here

There are many routes a mining company can follow in delivering an environmentfriendly business – there are technologies to reduce carbon footprints for example or options to maintain the smallest possible footprint both above and even below ground. Of course, we need to prepare upfront for mine closure and ensure strategies to ultimately return the environment to its natural state.

These are the ‘generally accepted’ practices for most miners in ticking environmental responsibility off their longterm to-do list.

But, and this is a big but, there is so much more we can do to give back and this edition will truly enlighten you on some of the phenomenal work mining companies are and could be doing to make a meaningful contribution to environmental preservation for future generations.

When last did you watch National Geographic? It’s an easy reminder of how the world is suffering as a result of (dare I say?) ‘human interference’. Natural habitats are rapidly shrinking, along with the wildlife that needs these resources to survive. THIS represents such a wonderful opportunity for companies with financial strength to give back, and some already are.

De Beers Group for example – struggling with a burgeoning population of elephants within its Venetia reserve – chose not only to donate them to one of Mozambique’s conflict-ravished and elephant-depleted parks, but provided the funding and support to execute the project as well.

Today it has successfully transported 101 (out of 200) elephant hundreds of kilometres to an area where these gentle giants can flourish.

African Mining & Crushing has chosen to support a local initiative working to move an endangered species of tiger off the ‘almost extinct’ list. Having visited this Free State-based programme for myself, I am inspired by the huge input needed for such a project.

I am however most encouraged by the work that Robert Muir, director of the Forgotten Parks Foundation and chief park warden and provincial director for the Congolese Wildlife Authority, is doing – trying to revitalise two of the DRC’s most undeniably beautiful national parks.

This is a task beyond comprehension for most of us and without getting into the detail of it here.

DRC mining companies take note: you have the opportunity to give back to one of the world’s most precious places. Take that step!

Watch our exclusive video with Robert Muir

On that note, now that you are truly inspired, I also dedicate this issue and an entire feature to our sector’s women in honour of South Africa’s Women’s Month in August – they are undoubtedly an asset to the industry. Read about some of the amazing work that women are doing in our man’s world.

Wow, I’m feeling inspired for our industry in the short and long term on the back of this issue. Are you?