I speak mining, and have done so for over 45 years. For most of that time, I have defended the industry from those ignorant or ill-informed of our activities.
I have stressed that the occasional mine accident or dam failure was the exception that proved the general rule. We are, I said, diligent, committed to safety and better than the media paints us (and this is coming from someone who became a teenager one month before the Aberfan disaster of 1966 when a Welsh coal tip collapsed and killed 116 children).
I have reminded the seemingly ignorant or ill-informed that we are one of the three primary industries (the others being, of course, farming and fishing). I have stressed that the direct use of natural resources has been crucial in the economic growth of most developed nations, and that the exceptions to this rule can be counted on your fingers (they include Luxembourg, Monaco and Vatican City).
It is an uphill battle, and mining remains widely unappreciated. For example, poll your average European taxi driver for a list of primary industries, and very few are likely to mention mining (the more enlightened might guess steel- or brick-making).
Hardly any of them will be able to name a leading mining company (although this experience might be different in Canada).
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