99 Ways To Die In Mineral Exploration – by Rob McLeod (CEO.ca – June 15, 2017)


I recently heard a great story about the safety culture that has permeated the mining industry over the past decade, with probably a bit of overkill within the major miners. At an alleged meeting between 50+ mining execs from each side of Newmont and Barrick in New York City, discussing a possible business combo, the Newmont chair of the meeting started it off with a safety share: “when walking the streets of New York, make sure you put your blackberries away, since you might step in to the street and get hit by a car”.

Getting struck and killed while walking and trolling Facebook is a risk that transects all industries, but particular to the mining industry, there are no shortage of ways to meet your maker in mining or exploration. Oh, and the Newmont-Barrick merger didn’t happen!

A short list of hazards, in no particular order, include: helicopter or fixed wing crashes, rolling ATV’s, getting shot, avalanches, kidnapping, malaria and all manner of tropical diseases, freezing to death, boiling to death, mauled by a large carnivore, bitten by a small, poisonous critter, falling, or drowning.

I have many friends and acquaintances where all of the above has happened, unfortunately with a few fatalities. And like most veteran geologists, a few of these incidents happened to me. And of course there is risk of getting whacked by a disgruntled investor in this type of market; that fortunately hasn’t happened…yet.

Almost all geologists that have worked in the north have a whole series of helicopter stories. I have done, and worked with plenty of pilots that did risky things with choppers. These workhorses for remote mineral exploration are probably the biggest risk in my business. My first (and hopefully only) helicopter crash happened in Alaska in 1995.

I was alone in a Hughes 500D with my pilot, a Vietnam vet, flying out of the mountains to some low hills when our engine flamed out. It was a windy day, and we were flying downwind when it happened; Ken let out a mayday and turned into the wind. This resulted in losing rotor speed; when helicopter blades are turning above 90%, they become ridged like an airplane wing.

For the rest of this article: http://blog.ceo.ca/2015/06/15/99-ways-to-die-in-mineral-exploration/