It comes as no surprise to this desk to note that, to date, we have not had a single word of support from the mining industry for the George Floyd protests in The USA and the world in general. Not a single company has issued a message of support, not a single captain of this white male dominated industry has stepped up to be counted. And it really is “as usual”, this is after all the same industry that treated local communities like dirt for centuries, it’s the one that was forced to accept women onto their boards, now it’s setting up to be the one that will wait until obliged by law to do something about its race problems. And there are many, starting with the number of black or minority faces you see in mining C-suites, as with very few exceptions your industry either whitewashes boards or has the worst sort of tokenism on show. The only place you see black people in executive positions in mining companies on a regular basis is South Africa, a country that knows all about structural racism and the steps to solve the problem.
The industry has to speak out on George Floyd and the growing movement around his death and needs to do it proactively, because this time really is different. The USA’s Black and Afro-American communities have been hitting us with the same message for years, only to be met with silence from those who might agree (or tone-deaf idiocies such as, “Well actually young man, all lives matter!”). This time, white middle class comfy life guy who agrees with their cause, i.e. me, doesn’t have the option of silent agreement. We need to speak, say “Ok, we are listening” because a flashpoint has occurred and they’ve finally, FINALLY, got our attention on the Afro-American agenda, not the one we’d like them to have.
Mining captain of industry, time to step up and put mining into the progressive social lane, rather than let it stagnate in the retro-mentality of always. Be the industry that makes a difference, instead of waiting for the different to happen to you. There are dozens of real mining rockstar influencers to choose from, famous name CEOs, investor moguls and even the big name newsletter writers who could all get a five minute slot on BNN with just a phone call. It would only take one of you to start the ball rolling.