New Internationalist

From This Month’s Editor

Issue 299


'So what's your first issue?'

'Mining,' I reply.

Blank faces, eyes averted, and finally the delayed response, 'Oh'.

I discovered that mining is not exactly a word that arouses interest. Definitely not a headline word. A deadly word really. A dirty word, you could say.

It's hard to explain to those blank faces why mining has always astounded and horrified me and how I came to realize that we rely so much on products made from mining that there's no escaping it.

Anouk Ride This realization dawns early in life for Australians like me - nearly everyone has relatives and friends working for the mining industry. Each state of this huge country is dotted with mines, digging up every conceivable mineral lying beneath it. Here the gold-rush days are not over. But nowadays people look for silica for computers and the towns left behind after the mines have moved on contain thousands of people.

The industry is continually telling us that without mining there'd be nothing to line supermarket shelves, fill our homes, drive us to work or write letters with. This may be the most accurate claim they've made yet.

Mining companies are good at issuing statements but not at answering questions. Like: 'Why are mining companies allowed to deploy their own armies? Why did Western countries buy piles of metals they'll never actually use? Why is it illegal for women to work in mines?'

Finding writers to answer those questions wasn't an easy task. Some were busy attending conferences, others were getting married, or visiting the Philippines, or throwing up with food poisoning, or writing reports. One had even died. And others were busy pouring all their energy into resisting the orthodoxy that says mining and consumption is progress. In the words of one Aboriginal woman: 'Honey, I want to help you. But Aboriginals don't have time for writing - we're too busy fighting!'

All around the world people are resisting mining that is unwanted or uncontrolled. These people would say to me: 'You are doing an edition on mining? That's excellent! Its effects are so crucial here.' Then I'd hear about how it had become a life-and-death issue for yet another community. And this encouraged me and others at New Internationalist to do this magazine. So here it is - Mining.

[image, unknown]

Anouk Ride
for the New Internationalist Co-operative

Contents - this Issue     Magazines Home

This first appeared in our award-winning magazine - to read more, subscribe from just £7

Comments on From This Month's Editor

Leave your comment


  • Maximum characters allowed: 5000
  • Simple HTML allowed: bold, italic, and links

Registration is quick and easy. Plus you won’t have to re-type the blurry words to comment!
Register | Login

...And all is quiet.

Subscribe to Comments for this articleArticle Comment Feed RSS 2.0

Guidelines: Please be respectful of others when posting your reply.

This article was originally published in issue 299

New Internationalist Magazine issue 299
Issue 299

More articles from this issue

New Internationalist Magazine Issue 436

If you would like to know something about what's actually going on, rather than what people would like you to think was going on, then read the New Internationalist.

– Emma Thompson –

A subscription to suit you

Save money with a digital subscription. Give a gift subscription that will last all year. Or get yourself a free trial to New Internationalist. See our choice of offers.