Armando Ernesto Alatorre Campos
College of Metallurgical Mining Engineers and Geologists of Mexico - CIMMGM


Expert Contributor

Changing the Message: Mining Needs a Completely New Commercial

By Armando Ernesto Alatorre Campos | Thu, 07/14/2022 - 09:00

Mining has been doing a lousy job of communicating the benefits it brings to humankind; this is true all over the world, not just in Mexico. Most people regard the industry as the "bad boy" who only wants to "make holes" and money without respect for all forms of life on the planet. Yoselin Santillan, writing for Mexico Minero, said that we have to explain, clearly, what mining has to do with anyone's way of life. However, we have not passed beyond showing isolated examples of products that require plenty of minerals in their production, though people do not care about what goes into any manufactured merchandise used in their daily activities.

Communication requires touching on the sensitive aspects of life. For example, a detergent commercial speaks to its cleaning power that brings joy to the people wearing a recently washed wardrobe. A beer commercial states the flavor and the mood it generates with responsible drinking. Everything relates to the pleasures that life can provide. Although mining is our main concern, it is not necessarily so for the general public. The main ideas contained in this article about reaching not far beyond a limited audience came from an eight-minute video projected by the Association of Metallurgical Mining Engineers and Geologists of Mexico (AIMMGM) at its last convention.

It is time to begin talking about “human health” mining. COVID, as the most recent example, has shown the need for millions of vaccine bottles, needles, syringes, refrigeration controls, and intubation plastics, to name a few, where mining provides raw materials in their elaboration. What about showing a high-tech specialized medical facility in action with captions about what goes into the pieces of equipment that help doctors find answers and treatments for humans. Emphasis should be on the fact that medicines and medical equipment provide a longer life expectancy in better circumstances than 100 years ago, and mining has helped to provide the elements that scientists put together for healing illnesses.

It is time to begin talking about “energy-transition” mining. The message has to be that to achieve lesser amounts of contamination each day, photovoltaic and solar sources are the known technologies to reach those goals. Then, showing those sources, again, with captions about the mining materials needed to build and operate them.

It is time to begin talking about “environmental” mining. On this topic, emphasis should be on cleaning and maintaining a better environment by employing many mineral products.

It is time to begin talking about “agricultural” mining. Food is essential for humans: fruits, vegetables, and meats; eating around a table with friends and family is among the most enjoyable times for any person. Mineral fertilizers, salt, as well as equipment to harvest and transport, and for refrigeration, among many other things, are needed for such purposes.

It is time to begin talking about “structural” mining. Any structure, large or small: a bridge, a hospital, a house, or a dam is needed for humans to travel, shelter, protect from flooding, or generate electricity.

It is time to begin talking about “mobility” mining. Electric vehicles rely heavily on mineral products. The same goes for planes, high-speed trains, spaceships, and large tankers.

It is time to begin talking about “telecommunications” mining. Today, there are more cellphones than humans on Earth. In addition, laptops, computers, cameras, and the internet provide means to reach people at any time and location.

It is time to begin talking about “lights” from mining. Electricity utilization in tremendously large amounts is needed to run homes and offices from the largest metropolitan areas to the smallest towns. What would modern life be without it?

A complimentary message could be: If mining disappears completely from Mexico, all industries will have to rely on imports to produce even a small piece of equipment; in such a scenario, what any person will pay for goods, surely will be much, much higher than actual prices.

Perhaps, a strategic alliance with the main manufacturers and their organizations could send the right messages to the people and the government.

To summarize, the central message must be about human health, comfort, communications, food, sports, leisure, reading, and every activity from birth to death, where mining is present all around but without being the main character in the messages. No more open pits, no more blasting; that is the kind of visual note that the general public does not want to see around them. We in the industry know that such activities are a must; however, the general public does not like to see those. People want a high living standard without mining, which is impossible. We have to tell them that but in a very different manner.