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Is Mining a Bad Thing?

Why Mining is Crucial to Life as We Know It

Written by Greg McCoach
Posted May 30, 2013

I am absolutely amazed at the total disconnect of society with the things they hold dear — cell phones, computers, cars, houses, and so on — and what makes these things possible.

A few years ago, I was asked to speak to a group of high school-aged students about mining in general terms.

To make it fun and interesting, I started off the presentation with a question...

How many in this audience think that mining is a bad thing?

About half the hands in the room went up.

This should come as no surprise when you see the bias against mining in society and within the public school system.

A couple of years ago, my middle school-aged daughter came home with an assignment about the environment and the dangers of mining. It was a totally biased slant that taught my daughter mining was not a good thing.

I took around two hours of my time to make sure she clearly understood that this was not true — and that her teacher was either very naïve or completely stupid to be teaching such nonsense.

Anyway, in my presentation to the high school students, I brought a big trash can on stage anticipating what the result of my question would be...

Based on the fact that roughly half the audience thought mining was a bad thing, I asked everyone who had raised their hand to please deposit their cellphones, iPhones, iPads, iPods, Game Boys, and laptops into the trash bin.

Because without mining, they wouldn't have these things.

I then gave the students the breakdown on how much of each mineral each one of them would require during their lifetimes to keep their current standard of living intact:

  • How many pounds of coal to keep them warm and provide electricity for their homes, computers, and Internet services;
  • How many pounds of copper they will use to purchase all the cars and homes they will own;
  • How many pounds of copper will be needed to create the modern cities where they choose to live;
  • How many pounds of lead, zinc, cobalt, silver, gold, platinum, palladium, nickel, chromium, uranium, and a host of others that will be needed just to keep them acclimated in the things they have grown so accustom.

I told them that without mining, we wouldn't have a military to protect us, as everything related to guns, ammo, ships, planes, and battlefield implements comes from mining.

After going through all the slides showing how much of each mineral each student will personally require over his or her lifetime and what each of those minerals is used for, I again asked the question: How many of you now feel that mining is a bad thing?

Not a hand in the audience went up.

There is an incredible need to help society understand that responsible mining is absolutely necessary and critical to keep our way of life intact.

I left the students with this thought and quote: "Look around you... Everything you see — if it hasn't been grown, it comes from mining."

This experience left me with one last thought that I have since shared at the many mining conferences I speak at: Responsible mining companies need not be defensive about what they do.

It would do much good if mining companies would educate people on where things come from and what minerals are required to make them.

There is no need to go on the offensive, but we need not apologize for doing what is in the interest of mankind.

With that said, understanding the investing potential for resource stocks and having the knowledge to successfully invest in them can take you and your loved ones a long way towards a prosperous future, despite the volatile nature and cycles of the business of mining.

As I always say in my rants over the years, volatility is your friend — not your enemy — if you understand how to play it.

Until next time,

Greg McCoach for Wealth Daily

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