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The World of Mining

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Table of Contents

1. The History of Men and Mines
Mining has been an essential activity for mankind since before the dawn of civilization. The industrial revolution substantially increased demand for metals and coal. In the 19th century, new mineral deposits were discovered and exploited throughout most of the world including some of the most remote and inhospitable areas.

2. Traditional Mining
Methods used by traditional miners have changed little since the middle ages. Hand tools and simple contrivances are still used in many parts of the world, to extract gemstones and precious metals. Even bulk commodities such as sand and gravel are mined and transported by hand in those countries where labor rates are low.

3. Mining Today
Most mining projects follow a similar path from exploration and evaluation, through construction and commissioning, to operations, which are ultimately followed by mine closure. Operations may include surface or underground mining, haulage, processing, and disposal of mine wastes and process residues.

4. Mines Vary Widely
Each mining project is different. The type of mine, the processing facilities and installations included in each project are selected on a case-by-case basis depending on many factors such as the size, composition, depth and accessibility of the ore body. An extensive Feasibility Study determines the final project layout.

5. Mining in Different Landscapes
Mineral deposits occur throughout the world in different terrains and climates. Mines of different types have been developed on glaciated mountain peaks, in forested valleys, fertile plains, active volcanoes, dry deserts, arctic tundra, tropical islands, urban areas and beneath the sea.

6. Minescapes
Mining imposes its own signature on the land. Existing landforms are re-shaped to accommodate processing facilities and infrastructure, voids of various shapes and sizes expose complex patterns and colourful rock formations, while new landforms are created through the storage of mine wastes.

7. Miners and Their Machines
Strange and wonderful machines have been invented to access, excavate, process and transport ores and mineral products more efficiently and safely. As mines have become larger and deeper, larger, more specialised and increasingly sophisticated machines have been developed.

8. Mine Communities
In the past, mining communities sprang up wherever valuable minerals were discovered. Modern mining communities are planned from project inception, in parallel with other project components. These communities are sited and designed for workforce comfort and aesthetics, rather than proximity to the mines.

About the Author

Jim Wark is a aerial photographer who specializes in capturing unusual landscape and cultural images throughout North and Central America. His vision of Earth from on high reflects both his experience as a naval aviator, and his reverence for the Earth's geography gained during a career in mining and geology. In 2005 Jim Wark was the recipient of PAPA's (Professional Aerial Photographers Association, Intl.) first ever lifetime achievement award. In 2006 Jim was the first recipient of the EPSON Aerial Photographer of the Year Award. Jim Wark summarizes his feelings about his passion in this way: 'I am an aviator, a mining engineer and a photographer, in that order. Or maybe it's the other way around. My life's work has been in aviation and earth sciences, and combining these interests with an inherited instinct for photography has fulfilled my deepest ambition.' Richard Woldendorp, born in The Netherlands in 1927, showed from an early age an interest in painting and drawing before studying commercial art. He immigrated to Australia in 1951. Intrigued by the uniqueness of the Australian landscape, he became a landscape photographer with a strong interest in aerial photography, which he feels captures the vastness of the outback best. His love of the Australian landscape has led to extensive travel throughout the country. Richard Woldendorp has won numerous photography awards, held numerous exhibitions, published various books and has photos in public collections across Australia and in America. Amongst his many awards was acceptance into the Society of Advertising, Commercial and Magazine Photographers Hall of Fame, and nomination as Western Australia's Professional Photographer of the Year for 1998. More recently, Richard Woldendorp was named a State Living Treasure for Western Australia. Karlheinz Spitz is an environmental consultant with many years of working experience in Canada, Europe, Asia, and Australia. His main interest is the environmental assessment of large resource development projects in developing countries. He worked on many mines in South East Asia, covering a wide range of minerals and a diverse spectrum of environmental and social settings. Karlheinz Spitz understands mining as a sustainable economic activity; his focus is on the social, economic and environmental performance of mining. In 2008, together with John Trudinger, he published a textbook on mining and its environmental and social interactions with the host region, and created the related website He continues to be fascinated by the disparity of the image that mining enjoys in the public and the importance of mined products in our daily life. 'Mining is as important to society as farming or transportation and housing, with fewer environmental impacts at a global scale. Yet it arguably attracts more negative publicity than any other human activity.' John Trudinger is an environmental consultant with more than 45 years of professional experience. Growing up in the mining town of Ballarat, Australia and trained as a geologist, he became involved in the emerging environmental business in the early 1970s. He has since contributed as team member or team leader, to environmental investigations and assessments for more than 100 resource development and infrastructure projects. He has travelled widely and has carried out consulting assignments throughout Australia, Asia and North America. His particular interest is the management of mine wastes in the mountainous wet tropics. Like most people working in the mining sector, John is highly supportive of an industry that requires much skill and knowledge while offering exciting but demanding opportunities. For him, mining is not a search for wealth, but a sustainable activity, that is essential for the well-being of mankind, now and in the future.


A handsome new 296-page coffee-table book uses hundreds of striking images of mining, many captured from the air by two experienced photographers, to capture the grandeur of our industry.
Unlike the bodgie, advertising-driven books which sometimes crop up, The World of Mining is a highly credible and lavishly produced volume.
The four authors are: Jim Wark, an aerial photographer working in North and Central America; Richard Woldendorp, a landscape photographer working in Australia; and two environmental consultants, Karlheinz Spitz and John Trudinger, both with backgrounds in mining and geology. The book is split into eight chapters: the history of men and mines; traditional mining; corporate mining; mines vary widely; mining in different landscapes; minescapes; miners and their machines and mine communities.
The World of Mining also draws upon some of the thousands of photos entered in the Snowden Group's annual photography competition. South African platinum producer Implats has lent some striking images, while Sir Arvi Parbo has written the foreward.
This book will make a splendid, if bulky, stocking stuffer for the enthusiast and layman alike. It will also serve as an excellent and sympathetic introduction to the industry and could usefully be distributed by those mining companies seeking to educate non-miners on the ways of our industry.
Australian Journal of Mining, November 2011

Stunning. A must have for mining industry insiders and observers. What is it? It is The World of Mining, a coffee table book of superb images from mines around the world.
From Africa, Asia, Europe, the United State and Canada, the aerial shots reveal patterns and colours impossible to see from the ground. The tome includes historic, artisanal and modern techniques used to unlock the wealth of this planet. Readers are treated to portraits of not only the miners but also their machines. The chapter highlighting mining communities celebrates the people of the industry; they are as geographically and individually varied as are the mines in which they work. The beauty in humble waste dumps and tailings impoundments is celebrated.
The World of Mining contains the work of four men - aerial photographer Jim Wark, landscape photographer Richard Woldendorp, and environmental consultants Karlheinz Spitz and John Trudinger - and winning images from the annual photography contest sponsored by the Snowden Group of Australia.
The brief passages of text sprinkled throughout the book are descriptive and accurate (aside from a minor misspelling on one Canadian mine name). Their brevity allows the evocative pictures tell the story.
The World of Mining belongs in all Canadian mining and exploration companies' offices. It would make an ideal gift for employees to mark special contributions to the industry or on their retirement.
Canadian Mining Journal, December 2011

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