While mining is vital in the modern world, it does have a chequered past and present and needs to clean up its act.
Anglo American CEO Mark Cutifani told the virtual Mining Indaba that without mining the planet could not support the human population. He has a point.
Cutifani made the remarks during a session on ESGs – environmental, social and governance issues – which are all the rage in the corporate world, notably in the mining sector, which has a sordid and dirty history.
In the past, ESG sessions were held near the end of the Cape Town-based indaba, when many of the delegates who remained were nursing hangovers or looking forward to a trip to the winelands.
More than one member of the panel remarked that it was a significant shift to have the session on the first day of an admittedly compressed indaba, which is down to two short days for its virtual 2021 version.
Cutifani said the industry “does not tell its own story well… mining simply makes life possible on this planet”. That’s a pretty sweeping statement that will raise some eyebrows. But he has a point.