Discussion of Sustainable Mining Practices at SODOGEO 2017

I was in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, March 15-17, 2017, at the 1st International Congress of Applied Geology at the invitation of the Dominican Society of Geology (SODOGEO). SODOGEO had asked me to speak about “Sustainable Mining Practices.” I added a subtitle to this to make the full title of my talk “Sustainable mining practices: The role of professional societies and researchers.” I thought it is important to make the message relevant to those of us in the room.

My goal, in this talk, was to:

  1. Establish what we mean by sustainable mining;
  2. Discuss my views on the role professional societies like SODOGEO can play in promoting sustainable mining practices; and
  3. Discuss the role researchers can play in our march towards more sustainable mining practices.

The talk was well received even though most of my audience do not speak English as their native language. There was a lively discussion after my talk. One issue that I stressed in the Q&A session was the fact that community engagement around a mineral project should start with the first exploration geologist who shows up at the site. So it was interesting that the next speaker after me, Marco Perez of CTECAM, presented a model for responsible exploration. Marco, who I now consider a friend, is an exploration geologist/mining engineer who has successfully applied his model to conduct exploration in the Dominican Republic with some multi-national companies.

Overall, the conference was a success and I enjoyed my first visit to the Dominican Republic. (And I figured out all the ways one can use the Google Translate Androd App.) I think SODOGEO has started something meaningful in their region and I hope this conference grows to attract the attention it deserves.