​Vermilion - A Scarlet But Dangerous Pigment

Vermilion Lacquer Coating pattern Cinnabar is a volcanic mercury sulphide ore and the primary source of elementary mercury. It occurs in most volcanic regions across the globe, and was one of the few ores autonomously utilised by many different cultures well before they were able to exchange ideas and information. This is probably because, regardle...
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​Cinnabar Mining - A Complex Situation

We've been playing around with mercury since around 7,100 BC when we first daubed red paint made from mercury sulphide onto cave walls in Turkey.  The mercury sulphide came from natural deposits of a volcanic mercury sulphide ore called cinnabar.  The bright red ore was ground into a fine powder and used to colour pain...
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​The Metals Of Antiquity – Mercury

When Charles Lutwidge Dodgson penned his now famous children's book, he couldn't have known that the Hatter, one of the best-known characters in the story, would become synonymous with a type of mercury poisoning that affects the brain and nervous system 1 . That story is of course "Alice In Wonderland", and the author's pen name was Lewis Carroll....
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​Spotlight On Mine Managers

Mine managers – no reputable mine would be without one! All jokes aside though, these professionals are responsible for a range of activities that are essential for the successful running of a mine site. Essentially, they plan, organise and supervise all mine proceedings. Most mine managers spend the majority of their time on site rather than in co...
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The Metals Of Antiquity – Iron

It's raining cats and dogs, and iron. Whilst today we know iron is, by weight, the 4th most abundant element in the earth's crust, and that there is more iron on earth than any other metal, our ancient forebears didn't. For millennia, iron literally was a gift from the skies in the form of iron meteorites, although it has to be said we didn't actua...
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​Lead Poisoning – An Ancient Problem That Is Still Happening Today

Many living things, including humans, need micro quantities of certain essential minerals for good health. The list includes iron, copper, zinc, manganese, magnesium, calcium, phosphorus, sodium, chloride, potassium, iodine and others. Lead is conspicuously absent. In fact, health authorities around the world have been revising their RDI for lead d...
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The Metals Of Antiquity – Lead

​ If you consider the contribution of plumbing to human life, the other sciences fade into insignificance. – James P. Gorman Plumbing, plumbers and lead go way back. In fact, the profession and its professionals can thank the soft, pliable metal for their name. The Latin word for lead is 'plumbum'. Interestingly, other 'plumb' words like the survey...
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​The Metals Of Antiquity – Tin

The metals of antiquity are the seven metals which humans had identified and found use for in prehistoric times: gold, silver, copper, tin, lead, iron, and mercury. 1 Although the circumstances surrounding the original discovery of tin – when, where, how – have never been established with any degree of certainty, and have given rise to numerous the...
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​The Metals Of Antiquity – Copper

If gold has been humankind's most valuable friend throughout the ages, copper has certainly been our most useful. Kind of like dogs and cats, or horses and dogs for the horse fanciers amongst us. Copper has been the more important 'friend' to us in terms of its usefulness, because we used it to make tools, weapons and various other implements. Gold...
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​Coping With A FIFO Lifestyle – How Do They Do It?

Research   has identified a number of strategies FIFO workers and their families use to cope with the varied health and social issues associated with this lifestyle. However, to date the majority of existing research in this area has not been particularly consistent. It's patchy and descriptive rather than theory based, and doesn't provide muc...
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​Could There Be A New Commodities SuperCycle Ahead?

Last month a leading global investment banking, securities and investment management firm hinted in reasonably strong terms that they believe indicators are pointing to what could be a new supercycle for commodities over the coming months. Surprisingly, or perhaps not, it comes on the back of the global health and economic disaster that is covid-19...
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Spotlight On Environmental Geology

Environmental geologists, through geologic data and application of 'principles of geology', can identify / remediate / prevent / resolve human-induced environmental issues before they become problematic. Humans have entered a critical phase in our history. As the earth's natural resources shrink and our population grows, there are critical decision...
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​Industrial Mining Tourism – A New Opportunity For Old Mining Areas

Fancy a holiday tripping (literally and figuratively) around some of the world's premier wine making regions? Perhaps you're a tech fan, in which case a tour of places like Silicon Valley would be more your 'bent'. Either way, these types of holidays, where the destination is more about visiting the industrial sites associated with that destination...
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​2021 – What Does It Have In Store For Mining?

 As 20 21 gets underway, and we reflect back on the interesting year that was 2020, it's worth noting a few key factors, and how those may well affect what is to come.  There's no doubt that 2020 will go down in history as a watershed year. So many things about the way we operate, particularly at a global level, may well have changed fore...
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​Spotlight On Medical Geology

Perhaps you have an interest in geologic matter, and helping people? If so, a career as a medical geologist could be what you're looking for!  In its broadest sense, medical geology studies exposure to or deficiency of trace elements and minerals; inhalation of ambient and anthropogenic mineral dusts and volcanic emissions; transportation, mod...
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Education For A More Sustainable Mining Future

"…the objectives of an observation give meaning to what defines sustainable mining. Thus, the observations of host local communities in terms of cultural values and economic livelihood, which is linked to environmental endowments, inform their perceptions of sustainable mining. The profit and revenue interests of both governments and industry playe...
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​Sustainable Mining – Do We Have Consensus On What It Really Means?

Sustainability – a long-term goal. Sustainable development – the pathways and processes needed to achieve that goal.  Sustainable development as per UNESCO refers to "development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs."    The Johannesburg Declaration on Sust...
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​Age: 'It's Just A Number' But Somehow It Matters - Ageism And Mining

As a mining recruitment specialist, I get asked about ageism a lot!  Ageism, also spelled agism, is stereotyping and/or discrimination against individuals or groups on the basis of their age. This may be casual or systematic. It includes prejudicial attitudes towards older people, old age, and the aging process; discriminatory practices agains...
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​The Mental Health Impacts Of Having A FIFO Work Partner

People take up FIFO employment for a variety of reasons. In many cases, it's predominantly about the money. FIFO jobs pay well compared with the same urban-based jobs and with clever fiscal management, people can make a substantial dent in their household debt, notably mortgage and housing loan repayments. However, working FIFO also comes with down...
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FIFO Workers And Risky Drinking

​ A 2018 study commissioned by the Western Australian Mental Health Commission confirmed previous studies about the prevalence of heavy alcohol (and drug) use amongst FIFO workers.  What constitutes a 'drinking habit'? Australia's National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) identifies that: Regularly drinking more than 2 standard drin...
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