December 2005
Volume 57    Issue 12

Sustainable development and industrial minerals

Mining Engineering , 2005, Vol. 57, No. 12, pp. 48-48
Barker, J.M.; McLemore, V.T.


Most discussions of sustainable development (SD) in mining relate to metal mines in rural areas. Industrial minerals (IM) are closer to urban areas primarily owing to a high transport-cost component to the total delivered cost. This visibility to large populations overshadows IMs relatively small operation size and generally lower waste volume and toxicity. The IM industry needs to rethink its way of doing business to fit into the SD paradigm. Society and business in general will also undergo significant change to enable industrial SD along the lines of triple-bottomline accounting with government pushing everyone. The benefit to IM mining from embracing SD is a renewal of their social license to operate and a rebirth of mining as a positively viewed force in society. This positive view would lead to lower acquisition costs because society would not fight so hard to eliminate nearby mining. This would ease the current exploration woes of the IM industry by opening up new deposits for exploration and more readily allowing placement of mines nearer to markets. The earlier in the exploration process SD is initiated, the better.

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