By Ben Auld Managing Director - Mining Plus
The short human story starts two million years ago. Remember, in Geological time this is merely the 'previous letter', however, it is the all of civilisation and much more.
Two million years ago, humanoids (before humans) began using a particular type of rock that had certain characteristics that enabled an edge to be formed and used as a tool. For those who knew how to use this special rock it obviously assisted greatly in the ability to hunt, cut materials and defend. This created an improvement in the human condition for a very long period and became known as the Stone Age.
The next major step in the human condition was the discovery of native copper and tin, creating a far superior product called Bronze. Again the improvements in technology for hunting, farming, tools, water transport, building and much more caused a significant improvement in the human condition. This period is labelled as the Bronze Age.
As a small side note between these two ages, Pottery came into existence further improving the ability to store and carry water and food – again a commodity mined from the earth.
Obviously, you can see where this is going, leading to the next period being the Iron Age. One point to make here is although each development created great benefit, a paradox exists in that is also created the potential for greater harm in the form of environmental impact and weaponry.
Another small side note here is that it is often said “If humans use it, it was mined or grown.” however I say farming is very hard without a steel plough. The use of Iron dramatically changed agricultural output.
The next great inflection in human development was the Industrial Revolution. The invention of the steam engine is attributed to this period, for the delivery of superior mechanical power. This may be true, however, a little known fact is that the most influential use of this mechanical power during this period was its pumping capability. This was used to de-water all the depleted European coalfields, unlocking a vast energy source and ultimately fuelling the Industrial Revolution.
It is this fundamental necessity through these ages that underpins our purpose and our passion in mining.