Dr Sara Bice

Dr Sara Bice, Research Fellow at The University of Melbourne, talks about her new book "Responsible Mining".

"Responsible Mining " - Is it an oxymoron or is it possible?

Well it is the new book, Responsible Mining, by Dr Sara Bice from the Melbourne School of  Government at the University of Melbourne who speaks about reducing the social impact of mining considering it (especially for minerals) will be with us for the foreseeable future.  It is to  examine  how it can be done in a more acceptable way - an optimistic framework. The  mining impact assessments include of course the effect on the environment. health  and other social impacts. As  Sara says one has only to compare the difference between BHP's Ok Tedi  in 1997 in PNG with Brazil in 2015 and how differently they have been dealt with  - the former with defensiveness and denial, the latter where BHP has been very active in publishing information.

Can the latter be emulated by other large corporations? Can it be attributed in some part to the the effect of social media when it is possible for a community to put pressure on companies who are probably keen on maintaining their reputation, particularly when countries like Brazil depend on about 80% of their revenue on mining which is virtually a finite quantity? Sara stresses the importance of ongoing, dynamic and regular monitoring. Multinationals can provide infrastructure and spend probably 1`% of their  profits on community investments.

It is to be hoped that stricter rules can include mandatory bonds for rehabilitation - a big problem  especially with local coal mining which apparently has deserted thousands of mines and CSG projects across Australia apparently leaving it for the taxpayer to repay.

(Summary by volunteer Bev McIntyre 19/8/16)

Further reading:

Book launch: Responsible mining

The Conversation - articles by Dr Sara Bice