Mining great opportunities
Posted on 06.12.10 by
John Timbrell, ArcelorMittal mining engineer, London, has been involved in mining in one way or another for his entire working life. He is often surprised by people's perceptions and out-of-date views about the industry – that it is not a very attractive business and a 'dinosaur' industry. Some of the negative aspects have also been in the news lately. So why does he think young engineers should consider a career in mining?
The reality is that easy-to-reach mineral resources located close to urbanised areas have long been exhausted. So today we are either pushed into the wilderness to find new deposits for the demands of our developing world and modern infrastructure or we have to develop new technologies to extract the harder to reach resources. And these technologies are a fascinating field.
However, for those wishing to join the mining fraternity, let’s face facts. New mining ventures are usually located in remote, frontier country at the edge of what most would call ‘civilisation’. So, what is so great about a career in mining? In a nutshell: adventure and travel.
Mining has long been a globalised industry, where people have moved around the world in search of new quests and riches. For example, the California Gold Rush of 1849 spearheaded the development of the west coast of America. Johannesburg in South Africa would never exist if it weren’t for gold. And our own Kryviy Rih in Ukraine was developed on the back of iron ore.
My career has taken me to places that most people have never visited, let alone lived in. I’ve lived on the African Lowveld dodging elephant and buffalo on my way to work, and in the Australian Outback within a few hours’ drive of the pristine waters of the Great Barrier Reef. I’ve visited countless places around the globe, from Siberia to the Sahara desert. And now I’m getting to experience London, the global headquarters of ArcelorMittal’s mining assets.
How many other professions can give you such a diverse array of work environments?