Tales from the Covid Bunker: Day 53

End of the World Jukebox: Back in the lovely days when I played in garage punk bands, guys used to claim they were better than girls a lot too... We used to say 'go tell Brody' - The Distillers - Drain the Blood

Time for a personal grumble today.

I hope that’s alright with you, and that our sponsors don't mind losing a little space for the topic... Blue language warning, please don't continue if that's likely to offend, I'll clean my tongue out for tomorrow's piece!


Do you know what pisses me right off…? As one of those dirty millennials (everybody is terrified of) with my avocado lattes and wannabe 'wokeness', I hate:

  • Fat old men complaining about foreign workers, while profiting from paying them an appalling rate of pay.
  • Fat old men complaining about non-white workers, while sponsoring a big dirty open-pit in a traditionally non-white region.
  • Fat old men complaining about sexuality, not realising we’re surrounded by a wonderful (if a little quiet) LGBT community in our industry.
  • Fat old men complaining about women in industry, while running organisations that claim to support Women in Mining.

That last one has really got me riled up today, after Mike Party (President of the AAPG) made a statement suggesting women were not suitable for remote fieldwork. This has been met with a wonderful response, hundreds have cancelled AAPG membership, torn up event tickets and posted support for female geos on Twitter, but it shouldn’t have had to go that far.

It is no secret that I am at loggerheads with the oil and gas industry and this display from a dinosaur at the top of it showcases why this sector, and its culture, need to stay buried in the past. My Twitter feed today was full of statements from men agreeing with the AAPG’s president. They suggested women could be more successful cooking them dinner than running geophys surveys, saying women shouldn’t waste their money on university, because mining is a man’s game.

Excuse my language here, but would you kindly just fuck right off back to the 1970s?

During my time as a Uni researcher, I was partly trained in field geology by an exceptional female geo from the British Geological Survey who would have wiped the floor for ig-pet knowledge and physical stamina with most of the blokes I know who claim to be in mining. I was trained in core logging in West Africa by a female geo who complained the least across the camp at the living conditions. I was out in the field last summer with a heavily pregnant VPX who was scaling the mountainsides faster than I could dream to… The list of times I’ve been wildly outperformed by (and learned from) women in geological settings is long and extensive. My genitalia is not of any relevance to my skill in the geoscientific field, neither is theirs.

There is no relevant difference between men and women in the fitness or skills required to be a geoscientist at any level, from soil sampling to CEO. That’s not a debatable discussion… That’s now an established position in our modern mining community.

If you think you have an alternative idea about any woman’s role in society, about what they should be doing with their time, body or dreams… That’s always your right, but you are in the staggeringly small minority now and, I would ask you to unsubscribe from my email list and go back to your cave.

The petroleum industry should be celebrated as a historic masterpiece. These are the 60+ year old blokes who got rich in Texas and the North Sea when the booms started, I applaud the incredible advances in technology, profiteering and ignorant environmental destruction you made in those years… But we have moved on now.

Mining is not just about smashing holes in wildly, flying first class and brash alt-right personas flexing podgy arms and combing over receding hairlines (although this obviously still exists!). We now all have a professional duty to shareholders, to communities and to each other. As explorers in 2020, we have advanced science, we have some of the brightest brains on the planet working for us and we have a warm and welcoming community in the metals and mining space.

Don’t let the sinking wreckage of oil and gas and its human detritus pollute our development as a modern, clean and progressive mining industry. We are better than that, we are better people, we are stronger people and together we will be the generation that includes diversity as the norm, not as a box-ticking exercise.

I would encourage you to stand up against the AAPG and any executive who suggests women aren’t strong enough and present them some of the hundreds of replies Mr Mike Party received at the AAPG using the hashtag #YesSheCan.

Spotlight Mining

Posted in Tales from the Covid Bunker

Liam Hardy View posts by Liam Hardy

With a family background in African mining exploration and a degree in geology, Liam brings a mix of technical ‘on-the-ground’ ore hunting and suit-booted office experience to the team. Liam worked in Liberia with Hummingbird Resources and spent 4 years as a geochemical analyst, before focusing on streamlining communications and development in exploration businesses, through the founding of ‘Spotlight Mining’.