Mining industry tries to clean up its reputation

This may surprise you, but the mining industry has an image problem. It’s awash in record profits, but as it exhausts easy-to-reach mineral deposits and moves into more remote areas, it is under increased pressure to work in an environmentally and socially conscious way. (Also at stake is funding from the World Bank, which claims only to finance convincingly “sustainable” projects — and what could be more sustainable than removing irreplaceable metals and fossil fuels?) The industry, well aware of its rep, is attempting to clean up its image: In 2001, several companies formed the International Council on Mining and Metals to serve as “the responsible face of mining.” The council deals with issues of waste disposal and toxic chemicals; for example, they have developed a list of guidelines for safe application of cyanide in gold mining. The guidelines are voluntary. If you know what we mean.