In 2002, while living in St. Louis, I heard from a recruiter who called to ask whether I would be interested in working for Phelps Dodge. I revealed my dearth of industry knowledge by asking, 'Why would a car dealership want to hire someone in public relations?'
After a trip to Phoenix and numerous hours of research, however, I was ready to sign on. I was impressed. This was a storied company that could trace its roots back to 1834. Phelps Dodge helped expand the U.S. and settle the West.
In December 2002, I became head of corporate communications, braced for action and excited to start working with our copper and molybdenum mines in the Southwest U.S. and South America.
I learned quickly that most of my colleagues had careers that spanned two or three decades. I expected that, but I didn't expect that many of them were second-, third- and even fourth-generation miners. Mining is in their blood in a way it could never be in mine, and I have the greatest respect for that. When compared with them, I would always be a newcomer.
Almost all of them were genuine people, humble personally but proud professionally. There's something about working a half mile underground or at the bottom of a mining pit that makes you simultaneously humble and proud, I suppose.
Mining is an intensely tight-knit community, and that's only natural. There aren't many industries that take people to remote spots on the earth and create value from nothing but dirt. The stories are heroic, the experiences belong only to a few, and the bonds are tight.
During the past several decades, mining has rarely been at the center of attention, at least in the U.S. When the spotlight has shone on the industry, negative events usually have attracted it, such as the labor strife of the 1980s.
In recent years, mining has taken center stage once again. When commodity prices rose a few years back, investors reacquainted themselves with the industry. Mining companies working outside their home countries found themselves engaged in everything from human rights issues to threats of nationalization to the reopening of contracts that were thought to be solid.
The biggest players, such as Rio Tinto and BHP Billiton, have learned how to conduct themselves on this stage. They have in place good programs in such areas as sustainability, human rights and community engagement.
I believe that beneath the megaminers, companies have a mixed showing in such areas. Of course, different companies will have different amounts of money and resources to tackle these issues. Still, some have solid programs. Others have put up a facade, taking a 'fake it until we make it approach' but working on the issues nonetheless. Still others try to talk a good game without much substance.
I'm convinced that the whole industry has to be solid in these areas. The spotlight can swing on any one company at any time these days. All companies need to have their house in order on these issues.
I plan to talk about a variety of corporate responsibility issues in this blog and suggest ways to improve programs. For this to be effective, though, I need to hear from you.
In your opinion, who does a good job in these areas? What innovative programs and projects have you seen? Who hits the mark, and who misses? Let's start the conversation and hear what you think.As the professional manufacturer of complete sets of mining machinery, such as Mobile crusher,Mobile jaw crusher,Cement plant, Henan Hongxing is always doing the best in products and service.
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