Nothing stays the same forever. This venerable magazine (as well as our almost-as-venerable sister publications The Northern Miner newspaper and the Canadian Mines Handbook) will have a change of ownership in August. Since, like Harry Potter, I am no master of Divination, I can’t predict what effect that will have on the direction of upcoming issues.
At the same time, we are launching the magazine’s own web site, with the incre- dibly long but unmistakable address: www.canadianminingjournal.com. Our site should be ready to roll by the time you receive this issue.
That places us smack in the court of B-2-B (business-to-business) commerce. Most of the other Southam magazines, most publications of all kinds, and in fact most North American businesses seem to be there already.
I admit that I have not been one of the first to embrace leading-edge technology.
I remember when we got the first photocopy machine in the Geology Department at Queen’s University, and I wondered if it would ever be as efficient as our Gestetner.
However, I can be won over.
Research indicates that a large number of our readers want electronic access. Therefore, our web site will contain most of what you see in the magazine. The feature articles and departments will be there for recent issues, and eventually for archive issues back to 1997. There will be indexes for all volumes since 1990. We are developing a searchable section based on the “Focus on Equipment” articles that we have published in every issue since February 1999. We are going to operate and monitor a Mining Chat Room (keep it clean, guys) for discussing the kinds of topics that you read about in the magazine. We’ll also invite feedback in the form of a contest–fill in the reader survey to enter a year-end draw for a Maple Leaf gold coin.
There will be advantages to the electronic magazine. It will be available long after you have lost your favourite, dog-eared issue. In the near future, articles will be coded for key words on the Oracle platform, making research much faster. We are working to attract advertising revenue, so internet readers can use our information at no cost. But don’t worry, the magazine will continue to be printed for those who prefer it. (See previous note on Divination.)
There are much larger issues in today’s electronic world. Fortunately, better minds than mine are figuring out how the internet can serve corporations and individuals.
In May, a joint venture of major world mining companies–the ‘Group of 14’–announced the implementation this autumn of an online procurement marketplace, www.mmprocurement.com. The companies will invest a total of $100 million in the project. They claim that the site will “bring significant benefits to both suppliers and buyers through standardization, transparency, streamlined transaction processes and improved inventory management.” Apparently the cloak-and-dagger secrecy of the old days has joined the dodo bird in oblivion.
AngloGold is working with J.P. Morgan and Produits Artistique de Mtaux in preparing to launch GoldAvenue.com in the second half of this year, providing one-stop internet shopping for gold products and services. The partners have committed $20 million of seed money to fund the first year of operation. The initial focus will be on retail gold sales, especially jewelry. (Sigh.) Where is the romance in that?
The possibilities go well beyond e-commerce, as is pointed out in an article by IBM Global Services in this issue. Read it to find out how information technology services providers like IBM are finding electronic means to help companies cut costs and increase efficiencies.