Newmont’s C.U.R.E. commitment belies mining’s rapacious image – by Lawrie Williams ( – July 15, 2015)

Mining has a very poor media image, largely prompted by often untrue or exaggerated examples of supposed bad practice by axe-to-grind sometimes less scrupulous environmental NGOs and the invariable depiction of mining companies as the bad guys in many Hollywood movies – particularly Westerns.

The media has an inbuilt predilection for only publishing news of inevitable occasional (actually very rare) environmental breaches and to totally ignore the good that many, indeed most, mining companies do for the communities in which they operate as part of their social contract. It was not ever thus, but today’s miners are a very different breed, but still could be said to be suffering from the sins of the past in terms of perception.

Mining thus has a huge amount of ground to make up in perhaps better disseminating knowledge of the huge amount of positive work being undertaken in education, housing, health and safety and wellbeing in the often extremely remote areas of the world in which they operate.

Go to a presentation by virtually any modern-day mining company operating in the less developed parts of the world and it will highlight what is being done in this respect – building schools, hospitals, decent housing and implementing sustainability programmes to be in place when the deposit is worked out – and, of course, providing decently paid employment, in areas where frequently there was absolutely nothing but subsistence living. Mining companies working in West Africa, for example, have played an extremely important role in the fight against the Ebola virus.

The major mining companies are at the forefront of this modern day sustainable mining process and its allied social contract, but even juniors nowadays are following suit. There is the recognition that it is vital that mining is seen as a giving industry – not only a taking one. While this may not be an entirely altruistic process it is a very real one in today’s industry.

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