I am one of the speakers in the "GIS in Mining and Exploration Online Summit" that will be webcast in 11 parts over 2 weeks in January-February next year (by subscription only). My presentation will cover "How GIS Works as a User App for Digital Data Networks" and is based on AZGS work on the US Geoscience Information Network and the National Geothermal Data System. In preparation for that, the summit organizers at MiningIQ.com interviewed me about GIS and mining. The interview is now online and covers more than just the summit topic. [Right, photo credit NASA/JPL]
Here's my response to the question, "What’s ahead for the mining industry and mining companies in 2012 from your perspective?"
Growing populations, rising standards of living, global competitiveness, and developing technologies are driving up demands for traditional and less traditional minerals. Challenges to meeting these demands are less technological and more social and political. Debates over ‘environmental imperialism’ and ‘resource nationalism’ are prevalent in the leading economic powers as well as Third World countries. Concerns voiced over environmental impacts from mining by foreign-owned companies are raised in Arizona just as in Indonesia or Peru. The value and importance of mineral exports in any state or nations economy seems to be overshadowed by opposition to foreign investment if the products leave the country to benefit others. Similar fears don’t materialize about other export commodities such as an agricultural product that may require lots of water, add pesticides to the environment, or need subsidies to survive. This trend is likely to continue despite the economic downturn.