Canadian Mining Journal

Feature

Some “One Percenters” really deserve a scolding

The "One Percenters," or, "The doers, not whiners," as I call them, were the cause of many disturbances around the world in past months simply because they’re rich. Not rich as in Carlos Slim or Warren Buffet rich, but wealthy enough to...


The “One Percenters,” or, “The doers, not whiners,” as I call them, were the cause of many disturbances around the world in past months simply because they’re rich. Not rich as in Carlos Slim or Warren Buffet rich, but wealthy enough to earn the scorn of the other 99% of people who earn less than about $350,000 a year. Naturally, both Mr. Slim and Mr. Buffet earn a great deal more than $350,000 a year but, nevertheless, they’re the poster boys for an elite team of wealthy people in a league of their own.

I have nothing against wealthy people, even though I often wonder how they earned, and continue to earn, huge amounts of money, but my point is that most of the big bucks in the world are in the hands of a very small minority of people and it’s those few people who are the ones targeted as being the cause of all the problems for the masses.

On a somewhat similar note, the same can be said about the small minority of mining companies that pollute the environment and thereby broad brush the entire mining industry as being enemies of the masses and especially, Mother Nature. Like the “One Percenters,” polluting miners are also fodder for protests and nasty headlines.

I know that segue from “rich” to “polluters” is a bit of a stretch, but when you think about it, both are in the minority in their given areas of activity.

When it comes mining and polluting, I think the industry is doing a great job at showing concern for the environment and, in fact, it’s often going beyond the call of responsibility by spending additional monies now to help ensure that what’s left behind is often better than when the ground was first broken.

For example, there will eventually be forests where there were once barren fields and more importantly, rivers and even lakes will highlight many areas where there was nothing but scrub and crags of rugged rocks. Rolling hills made by man for recreational purposes will also grow in many communities where miners once worked.

In all, once the mining is done, it’s time for fun and in most cases, that’s what most mining companies have in mind for the communities they have called home for the lifetime of their mines. But, and there’s always a but, there are the rare occasions when the “one percent” of irresponsible miners come along to spoil things for the rest.

The adjacent photos are a perfect example of what I mean. I took these photos on a recent field trip and couldn’t believe what I found at the backside of a tailings pond, far from sight of motorists on a major highway in the same area.

I think you’ll agree that it’s a deplorable, and thankfully rare sight, but it’s bad, nonetheless. It’s scenes like these that make me take sides with the whiners but then again, thankfully, I don’t have to in most situations.

Miners, and particularly Canadian miners, are generally law-abiding and good corporate citizens who generally respect where they work and often give back to communities more than they take. As I said at the outset, “One Percenters” are usually doers, not whiners, but every once in a while, they do wrong and it’s that one per cent of polluters who deserve to be scorned by the other 99%.


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