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The Forum > Article Comments > Hidden dimensions of the mining boom > Comments

Hidden dimensions of the mining boom : Comments

By Russell Hogg, published 3/10/2012

Any regard for the overall social and environmental impacts of the mining boom are being subjugated to short term economic considerations.

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..and this guy is a professor. There was an article complaining about fly-in fly-out rosters for mining on this site a few weeks back, and it was shot down in flames. This one is no better, particularly conisdering that our good professor has completely mistaken the trends involved.

Okay, many mining sites using flexible rosters on a fly-in, fly-out basis because its the only way they can get workers to the site. This is because the miners don't want to leave their families and don't want to move them to some awful place in outback WA. Improving the local facilities so that they might want to move their families there is both expensive and impractical, as the families are still unlikely to come. Apart from any other issue, children have been known to die simply from the heat in the more remote places - so most of the time they would have to be inside. So this is happening because of family and lifestyle considerations, not to damage them.

At a time when the bush is hollowing out with a major shift to the coast and larger, pleasant towns this academic seriously wants to reverse the trend at remote mining sites!

And yes there is some overall consideration of environmental impact, although it doesn't say so in the law. The relevent federal department has been known to apply general considerations, and be dragged into the appeals tribunal over it.

The author really wants to check reality before writing this sort of nonsense.
Posted by Curmudgeon, Wednesday, 3 October 2012 11:51:32 AM
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I feel there is something worthwhile here, but it is masked, if not lost altogether, by the narrowing of focus on remote mining concerns. Surely the whole of the nation is being impacted by both our mining boom and the rise and rise of supercapitalism - both independently and inter-dependently - with far wider long-term impacts and implications than those of only remote mining communities.

>".. the social costs of the supercapitalist trends described above are likely to intensify the subjugation of social to economic considerations, the long term to the short term, the public interest to private corporate interests."<

The principal question becomes what our federal and state governments have been doing, and what they should rather be doing in response to both the opportunities and the challenges involved - by and from the boom (while it lasts) and to address the impacts of supercapitalism.

>".. little regard is given to the impact on economic diversification, despite its importance for the long-term prosperity of localities, regions and the national economy."<

>"The oxymoron of corporate social responsibility simultaneously masks the private self-interest driving corporate sector demands for deregulation whilst diverting public institutions from their core responsibilities."<

The author could do much more to answer some of the questions posed in the article - for questions without answers or potential solutions are academic at best, and at worst an admission of impotence. Just what is being suggested here - greater government, bureaucratic and red-tape intervention, or an opportunity to improve the operation and integrity of corporate governance to ensure social and societal responsibility objectives are observed?

As for remote mining communities and social considerations, I think the author and colleagues ought take a more common sense approach to what is practical in the bush on a case by case basis, and not to be so quick to make broad-brush conclusions. Have they actually spent any time at any of these locations?
Posted by Saltpetre, Wednesday, 3 October 2012 3:24:33 PM
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Royalties from mining are being wasted on his wages? Boom, fifo, job started, iff they don't kill it which seems to be the situation now, people will settle.
It's just an investment decision, set up a town early with an incompetent Federal government or fifo to make it flexible to pull the plug if they kill the goose?
Posted by McCackie, Thursday, 4 October 2012 6:45:13 AM
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I thought this was excellent. The way the mining operations are conducted right now is no good for communities and families. I grew up having to move many times with my father's work - all over the country.

It is easier nowadays for families to move and yet stay in touch with friends and relatives. Why is there no commitment by the mining operators to building towns and communities to support the work?

I would like a challenge to be made to all mining companies who are operating in Australia now.
Posted by JenniferGJ, Thursday, 4 October 2012 9:27:35 AM
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JenniferGJ

It does help if you also read the posts. The point about FIFO, as I noted earlier, is that families like yours now don't have to move. In fact, our good Law professor is railing against the one viable option that is good for everyone, including families and communities.. FIFO is used mainly where there is no community to speak of around the mine, and is not going to be..

Where there is some sort of community around the mine, miners are now required to deliver social impact statements, at least in Queensland, and to make a substantial investment in the local community. As its not strictly a legal requirement (its more in the nature of a convention) our good professor does not know about it. Really the atrticle is totally clueless.
Posted by Curmudgeon, Thursday, 4 October 2012 10:38:06 AM
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