WE WERE having dinner at home with my family when my daughter asked me a question that somewhat “rocked” my senses. She relayed how her fellow workers asked her about what mining has positively contributed to us.

Apparently, one of her fellow nurses told their team that my daughter had a Mining Engineer father and, amid all the discussions and publicity the mining industry has been getting lately, she should reveal what the positive contributions of the industry has made. I really felt for her as perhaps she was speechless and could not give out definite answers. I felt it was my fault because as a Mining Engineer, I should have been educating my family about this very important, albeit controversial, industry that I am part of - an industry that has not only helped my family but countless other individuals and families all over the world.

So I see this need, now, to go back to basics and provide information to all of you out there about what mining has done for each and every person in this planet. I would like to qualify that as what “responsible mining” has done for each and every person in this planet.

I’ll start off with where my daughter works. She’s a nurse and I told her that the emergency room is one of the most important areas in the hospital. “What do you see there?” You have stainless steel medical tools and equipment, needles and pins, dextrose bottles, maybe a minor operating table made of steel. So where did all these come from? If mining was not here, then all these steel items will also not be around.

I went further and simplified. I said that most gadgets and life-saving equipment in the hospital areas are run by electricity – electricity that is transmitted by copper wires. “Where does copper come from?” Of course it is mined! Without mining, there would be no copper, and without copper, we’d have no electricity that runs almost all of our home and office appliances and equipment.

The mobile phone is made of different parts that are metal or that came from minerals. Communication would be impossible without mining.

Transportation would be impossible without mining, unless of course we go back to animal transport. But then again these animals “pull” objects that would one way or the other have been made because of metals and minerals that were mined – nails, iron bars, bearings, metals plates, and the list goes on and on.

I’ll be devoting this space to educating the public on what benefits we derive from responsible mining. Social media has been abuzz with nega comments and criticism but even Facebook would not be around if mining was gone. So wish me luck! I’d say the problem is the lack of information available, or to a large extent the misinformation available, about the benefits and contribution of responsible mining to the development of society in general.

“A little knowledge is a dangerous thing.”