OPINION: Demystifying mining: Poldark’s world no more – by Alex Hamer(Investors Chronicle – February 2021)


To counter its negative public image, mining markets itself as a means to global advancement. Unfortunately, the industry often fails to make the case without sliding into jargon

Mining is polarising, no doubt. On one hand, the slick slideshows of the majors paint an image of open-air metal factories, where operational excellence limits danger and environmental damage is kept to a minimum.

On the other hand, general punters might still imagine the world of Poldark, where men chip away at rocks underground for a few months before they are crushed to death.

The truth is unfortunately somewhere in between, with deaths still common (Glencore had eight in 2020, but was keen to point out this was from a workforce of almost 150,000, including contractors).

Environmental destruction is also still a problem. Even beyond the disasters like Samarco and Juukan Gorge, miners see hills or forests as less of a natural endowment as ‘overburden’ which must be removed. Maybe ‘topography’ if a whole hill needs to go.

One problem for those interested in the sector – for investment or other purposes – is the linguistic ‘overburden’ of jargon.

For the rest of this column: https://www.investorschronicle.co.uk/news/2021/02/22/demystifying-mining-poldark-s-world-no-more/