Mining and the processing of natural resources such as coal and gold have always been an important part of the economy, right from the birth of the nation. But way back then, we didn’t know how much damage we were causing. And these days, mining companies of all types are finding it hard to give any response to the claims they are unethical from a growing number of people in communities all over the country.
In fact, it’s fair to say that many people will be unaware of the fact that mining companies understand the phrase ‘ethical.’ We’ve repeatedly seen companies claim to put the planet and their employees first, and they seem to let us down each and every time.
So the big questions for today are - can mining be ethical? And how can modern mining companies start regaining our trust and still run as a profitable business? Let’s take a closer look at some of the ways a modern mining company can put ethics first.
Partnerships between mining companies and communities tend to be incredibly straightforward. The company gives residents money, and they don’t complain - it’s that simple. At least, it used to be. These days, people are a lot quicker to take issue with practices and cultures that they don’t agree with, and if mining companies want to form deeper connections with people, they have to make more of an effort.
Don’t ignore environmental issues
We all know the huge problems that mining can cause to the environment. Take gold mining as the perfect example. It’s destructive and creates an enormous amount of toxic waste that will, in many cases, cause enormous pollution problems. And the impact can last for generations. It’s vital for mining companies that they acknowledge their influence on the environment and embrace cleaner methods of working if they want to win back the respect of communities.
Address labor issues
As we all know, mining is not a job for the faint of heart, and it’s an incredibly dangerous activity that can result in death. But around the world, many miners are paid poor wages and don’t get the protection they need. While mining workers here are better off, it’s important for companies to recognize that if their business practices abroad are not as safety-conscious, they need to make a change.
Invest in automation
Use of greener technology could help reduce the carbon footprint of mining companies and create safer working environments for employees. For business owners, automation is also a far more cost-efficient way of working. Looking for a radial stacker for sale, for example, will be a significant investment in the short-term. But, it will stop workers from having to access dangerous areas and help increase the speed of production and processing.
Be more open
Finally, part of the reason why many people look at the mining industry with suspicion is that companies are secretive. Of course, these businesses don’t want to reveal trade secrets to their rivals, but, ultimately, a little more openness to the general public will go a long way to repairing the damage. The fast food industry is a good example to follow. A decade or so ago, the names of firms like McDonald’s were mud in many people’s eyes. But a willingness to address consumer concerns and be more open about working practices has seen them get back on track.