Ten books every miner should read

mining books read

Today I was sent this link.  It is to a site where people ask questions and commenters provide answers.  I find most such sites silly and this is no exception.  Although the question is profound:

As a mining engineer student I am finding it a bit difficult to find books that will help me with my degree and later with my career.  Any books that you have read or you have bought and still use that you think everyone should have????

So many ?s and my cynicism is aroused.

But what of the answers.  Here is “the best.”

I use the SME Mining Reference Handbook all the time. I also like the Hardrock Miner’s Handbook (free download: http://www.altomines.com/pdfs/HardRockMinersHandbook.pdf). After that it really varies depending on your interests.

Are you interested in specific topics? Ventilation, Mining Operations, Rock Mechanics, etc.?

My all time favorite is the SME Mining Reference Handbook. It doesn’t explain concepts, but has most of the formulas, charts, and tables that mining engineers use.

I would also recommend the SME Mining Engineering Handbook as another good general book and it does explain concepts. Both are expensive so you should check to see if your university provides you access to online resources.

Profound advice.  Admittedly the SME books are good.  But they do not tell you about mining if you are a student.

r/mining is the site from which this comes.  It is new to me.  And probably won’t be visited often by me.

It consists mainly of questions like the following—to which question no answers are posted:

I am a mining engineer based in the American Southwest. I’ve been looking at comparing cash costs of production for differing mining companies. For some companies, (like Freeport) cash costs and average sale prices are very easy to find, and are clearly stated in their annual reports. Other companies are more difficult. If I wanted to find cash costs of production by commodity for Rio Tinto, how would I do so? Is there a good resource for this?

Admittedly I do not know the answer to this question, but then I cannot believe this is a question to agonize over.

Which leads us to the essential question: which ten books should every miner read?  Here is my personal list:

Finding Far Away by Lisa Wade is the best there is on being a young person in the mining industry.  It deals with sex too.

The Plundered Plant which tells us what countries should, but generally do not, do with mining profits and royalties.

The Northern Miner’s Mines Handbook is the best introduction I know of.

EduMine Courses.  There are many courses on EduMine for the beginning miner.  The most popular is Mining 101 by Scott Dunbar.  I have a few including  Mining Investment- Understanding the Risks that is very popular.

The Origins of Political Order by Francis Fukuyama gives insight into the nature of society and politics.  Better than all those vacuous publications on socially responsible mining and sustainable crap.

Antifragile by Nassim Taleb.  Also read his books on Black Swans and other topics.  His insight will inform all young miners about the realities.

Elixir, A History of Water and Humankind by my favorite author Brian Fagan. Required reading if you are going mining and will have to face the water issues that are now the center of all mining successes and failures.

Principle and Practice of Waste Encapsulation by Caldwell and Reith.  We wrote this book in 1993.  It is still available on Amazon.com for a large sum.  It was the first to expound the issues of waste management in a rational way.  Most of what has been written since is but derivative.

De Rerum Natura by Lucretius.  Written BC, it is still the best and most beautiful poem on the nature of things.  If you have not read and appreciated this book, you have no business mining or exploiting nature for the benefit of mankind.  Who can resist a poem that includes lines like these that are the essence of the mill managers domain?

And wine, we see, will flow on the instant through

a sieve, but oil is hesitant and slow,

either because its particles are larger,

or else more hooked and tightly intertwined,

and this is why they can’t be pulled apart

so quickly into separate single atoms

that seep through single openings, one by one.

And for number ten, I nominate all those conference proceedings.  Every one contains papers by practitioners bent on telling of what they do, have learnt, and know.  Conference proceedings are the lifeblood of knowledge accumulation and transfer in the mining industry.  Go for the proceedings in paper and book format.  If the information is worth reading, it will be on paper and in a book.  If the conference is but a commercial venture to give an excuse to the privileged to travel, you get only an e-version.  Don’t fret about such conferences.  They are but exercises in vanity.

OK, this is my personal list.  Highly subjective I know.  So please comment on your ten favorite books for miners.

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