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Online Training: Why Mining?

12 - 13 January 2022
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Event type:
Contributes to CPD, Online Training, Virtual event
Organised by:
Geological Society Events
Event status:

The programme is ideal for anyone who works adjacent to or within the mining industry and would like a broader understanding of the full value chain, or those with an interest in the challenges and practicalities of reaching Net Zero with a limited knowledge of the mining industry.

This two part course provides insight into the mining world, from the rationale of why we mine, to geology, processing and closure, and how mining organisations should incorporate ESG to ensure they are both sustainable and profitable.

Special reference will be made to the various Government initiatives associated with the natural resources sector such as the Industrial Strategy and Net Zero by 2050, to understand how threats and opportunities which exist in the mining industry can be understood and managed by the Government.

This course can be used as part of your continuing professional development (CPD) requirement.

Learning Objectives:

A robust overview of the different steps in the mining process
An enhanced understanding of the technical and sustainable aspects of the mining value chain
Comprehensive overview of the risks (both threats and opportunities) faced by the mining sector (inclusive of social, political, government relations, environment, health, safety, etc.) and those who interact with it.
Understanding of the Government’s role to ensure responsible mining


Day 1 - Wednesday 12 January 2022

17.00 – Attendee & Speaker Introductions

17.30 - What and why mining?
If we are to meet any of our targets (Net Zero by 2050, all electric vehicles by 2030) or strategies (Saudi Arabia wind power, Green industrial revolution with 250,000 green jobs) we need to understand the value chain of where the materials come from that are required for the technology to meet these goals.  If you can’t grow it, you have to mine it.  However, gone are the days when mining destroyed the landscape and left a legacy for future generations to clean up.  Instead, mining can be a value creator for the environment and community in which the minerals are found and processed.  Mining is one of the world’s most complex, risky and vital industries. Unlike other industries, everything is done on a large scale, inclusive of the potential impact on people and the environment (both good and bad).  Do our policies reflect this?  The UK is a world leader regarding the knowledge of how to responsibly extract materials from the ground through to how to finance and ensure continued responsible sourcing of these materials.  This section explores:
- What is included in mining?
- Why do we need mining – a reality check.
- External drivers shaping mining including social expectations, stakeholder demand for positive ESG impacts, technology improvements and climate change.
- The UK’s involvement in mining (current and future potential).

18.00– the mining value chain
Every commodity and mine is different.  This interactive section provides a whistle-stop tour through the main steps in the mining value chain with the occasional detour to explain how technology and expectations have changed these steps in recent years.  Come prepared for discussion, short videos of what a mine really looks like and some great stories of mining in the real world.  Steps in the mining value chain to be included:
- Exploration and understanding the rocks beneath our feet.
- Mining (open put and underground)
- Processing (hydrometallurgy and pyrometallurgy (ie – separation of minerals by using water and heat))
- Shipping and sale of materials
- Mine closure versus ‘care and maintenance’
- The circular economy
(see the attached factsheet for more detail)

18.50– questions and set up for part two of the course.

Day 2 - Thursday 13 January 2022

17.00 – Welcome and questions from day one

17.15 – Commodities:  Lithium, Copper, Rare Earth Elements, Cobalt, Gold, Nickel, Iron Ore, Coal, Diamonds…. 
Based on the interests of the participants a range of commodities will be explored so that the differences and areas for improvement can be recognised.  Initial focus will be placed on battery critical elements and those required for the energy transition.  The course trainers can prepare material for any material requested.  For each commodity the following will be explored:
- Where is that element / material located on Earth
- Where is it currently being mined
- How is it mined
- How is it processed
- Any legacies (positive and negative) resulting from that commodity including supply chain concerns; Environment and community legacies; any relevant case studies.
- Links to supporting information.

18.15 mins – The role of government in responsible mining.
The government typically plays the role of policy setter, regulator and permit grantor.  The government therefore has a key role in ensuring that processes through which domestic mining can be undertaken are streamlined yet also contain the checks and balances required to ensure responsible mining.  It normally takes a minimum of ten years for an exploration project to be developed into an operational mine.  The mine itself can then be operated for decades.  Timescales are therefore long and needs to be acknowledged as such with permits and policies being flexible to adapt to changing environments and scientific knowledge and understanding.  

Investors increasingly playing a leadership role on ESG, exposing weaknesses in local laws and regulations in different parts of the world (eg Australia on cultural heritage and Brazil on tailings).  The UK’s strong financial sector and governance codes often lead global expectations regarding the investment of funds in responsible opposed to irresponsible mining activities internationally.  The influence of UK government on mining both directly and indirectly is therefore significant, however is there an opportunity to get further ahead of the game?  

The following aspects of influence will be explored in this section:
- The direct role of government in mining (e.g. domestic mining)
- The indirect role of government in mining (e.g. influence via financial governance codes; funding of UK research into mining technologies and circular economy)
- The future of UK mining (domestic and international)


Sarah Gordon 

Having originally trained and worked as a geologist (both in exploration and onsite) for Anglo American, Sarah moved into sustainability, asset divestment and risk & assurance, working in Latin America, Southern Africa and Europe.
Her final role in Anglo American was Head of Assurance and Risk Analysis for Sustainability and Technical. 

In 2014 Sarah co-founded Satarla, a risk management consultancy that specialises in training, consultancy and research, working with organisations from all sectors including mining, energy, utilities, agriculture, life sciences, finance, charities and governments.
Sarah has a PhD in Geochemistry from Imperial College London, and a BSc in Earth Sciences from the University of Glasgow. She is an accredited training course designer and trainer for the Institute of Risk Management, Chair of the External Relations Committee at the Geological Society of London, an Honorary Visiting Lecturer at Imperial as well as a Research Associate at the University of Johannesburg.

In 2016, she was voted one of the top ten most inspirational women in mining.


Registration for this series will close at 12.00 GMT 11 January 2022.

Delegates will receive joining details in the afternoon on 11 January.

We offer discounts on group bookings of 5 or more, please email to enquire.


This series of events will be held virtually.


Please contact with any enquiries.

Register now

Registration rates

£ 165.00
£ 230.00

Geolsoc Contact

Conference Office

The Geological Society
Burlington House