South African miners prefer senior geologists: WSJ

"I only hire old geologists," reads the catchy post on Twitter from the Wall Street Journal promoting an article about how South African mining companies seem to be choosing older professionals over recent graduates.

Mining executives, interviewed by WSJ, are amused by the quirks of geologists who have been in the business a long time. Ultimately, though, they said old-timers bring the value of business experience with their history in exploration work, understanding of rock formations and how to map the details of new territory.

WSJ notes in South Africa,

"… senior geologists tend to do their work the old-fashioned way. They avoid radar technology, preferring instead to examine termite and ant mounds; they study vegetation and carry divining rods. They're famous in the often cutthroat industry for their efficiency—also for wearing neckties in the blistering heat."

The country's mining industry, which employs around half a million workers directly, and comprises 9% of GDP as well as two-thirds of exports, weathered troubled times in 2012.

Widespread industrial unrest paralyzed gold and platinum producers, while surging operating costs further impeded competitiveness and plunging commodities prices eroded profits.

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