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Presidential Address: The 21st Century – Mining for Mankind: The Responsibility is ours


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Author Foots J


Welcome to this 13th Congress of The Council of Mining and Metallurgical Institutions. It is twenty one years since The Australasian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy last hosted this congress and it is a privilege and a pleasure for The AusIMM to have that responsibility once more. The theme of this congress “The Twenty-First Century – Mining for Mankind” stimulates many thoughts. The first thought that it generates in me relates to the reference to the 21st Century. We are still 14 years away from it and already consideration of the beginning of the next millenium is becoming something of a cliche. If we feel like that about it now, how will we feel at the 14th Congress of the CMMI in 1990, or the 15th in 1994 or the 16th in 1998? If we do all the crystal ball gazing about the 21st Century this week, those poor devils in the 1990s will in fact have nothing to talk about. Of course that is not the case. This is a very appropriate time for those of us concerned with mining and metallurgy to contemplate the next century. Fourteen years is about the extent of forward planning necessary in the mining business. I sometimes feel that most people do not take seriously the need for long range planning in our industry. Politicians, investment fund managers, and others under severe short-term pressure to perform in our hyperactive world may nod in apparent appreciation of our long term plans but their actions in the interests of expediency often betray-them.