"Deep down to the ground"

Including an editorial into a newspaper or a magazine seems to be more than obligatory. Does anybody read it? Hopefully, someone. Otherwise, me and thousands of editorial writers will end up depressed and dissappointed and some of us will even lose their jobs. So in order to combat unemployment, please, read on.  Our newsletter is different, no hot news about movie stars, no hot pictures of half-naked young singers, no key solutions to your outfit and lifestyle. This one goes deep down to the ground. Literally.

Having been appointed a new member of the newletter‘s editorial board /which came as a big surprise for me/ I took an opportunity to be the first one to write the editorial for the Euromines newsletter distributed to the general public, to a wider audience. I am neither a miner nor  a geologist, I am just somebody who is convinced mining can bring a lot of good things to people and who fully realizes without mining we could hardly travel, use computers, mobiles, save people in hospitals etc. There are millions of reasons why we need mining but there are few people  who understand them.

Just try to do a simple thing – sit by a computer and write in to Google „Good things about mining“.  Any result? All you get is just a yahoo answer or several very short chats among people. Write something different „Mining disasters/accidents“. And any result? About 65 million of pages.  Some of you might say: „Of couse, mining is nothing but destroying the environment“ and they go on chatting on the issue how to prevent  a mining company from extracting the minerals. They do it sitting by a PC, listening to a CD player and browsing the internet as well as comparing the latest car models. As if all these things were not made of materials imported from other planets. Or good Dumbledoor used his magic stick and here they are – beautiful, strong, modern, safe, with high performance.  That is a very hypocritical attitude, but very common, very easy to follow and very efficient to make people stand up against and to „fight for their right to live in ahealthy environment“.  Does mining really bring only environmental problems? Does it necessarily cause only accidents whereever it operates? If it does, so we all should immediately give up using any primary product of mining – knives, cutlery, pans, cars, radios, ....sorry, I do not have enough pages to name them all.

Even this newsletter as it was definitely created using computers made of different metals. Just throw it away. If it doesn’t, why it is not said everywhere? Why sources providing information on disasters do not include also statistics comparing „trouble and non-trouble mines“? The answer is simple and difficult at the same time. The simple one states we live in a commercial society and it is much easier to get people interested in „scandals“ of any kind. The difficult answer offers more complex explanations – it is too difficult an issue to really understand it, a low level of knowledge of the general public, maybe bad external communication of mining companies, the naivity of some mining companies believing that the general public must understand the issue after somedetailed explanation, not enough investment to PR and so on.

I think the previous sentence made all miners angry as they are convinced they do a good job. And they do. They just have difficulties stating clearly and in the right way that mining can bring benefits also to society, not only to mine owners. According to the definition environment is the social, cultural and natural forces that shape the life of a person or a population. We all have somehow forgotten the social and cultural aspects. None of us can deny mining has an impact on the natural environment and recultivation is a must nowadays. As well as the use of modern and safe technologies. There is no other way.  No doubt.

But mining has a positive impact on the whole environment, economic, social and cultural – jobs, social security, economic diversification, traditions, sponsorship into culture development etc. If somebody listed the benefits and losses in all aspects of the environment, mining could wear a badge „environment friendly“. Now, I‘ve made all eco-warriors angry. Where does the truth lie? Somewhere in between. None of us wants to destroy the countryside, wherever it is, people want to protect it and that is good. Hardly any of us want to live in a small chalet without electricity, drainage, running water, and wear and eat what you find in nature. We do not necessarily have to be Magicians to find the solution, it is a simple task – let´s make all involved sit at the table, listen to each other, leave emotions aside and become rational after what we do and what we need.

Beata Nemcová,
EMED Mining