November 9, 2015 | Mark Paradies

WSJ: “Dam Failure Points to Rise in Mine Woes”

In 2011 the mining recession started. The price of commodities (iron ore, copper, and other metals) suffered when demand from China dropped. This recession was somewhat independent from the housing crash of 2008.

What is the natural tendency of an industry faced with falling prices and falling demand? To cut costs. And that happened across the mining industry. 

The Wall Street Journal is now pointing to the increased number of fatalities at large mining companies “when most are enacting heavy cost cuts as they battle to remain profitable amid a downturn in world commodity prices.” (See articles here and here.)

This negative press coverage by the WSJ resulted from the recent dam failure at a mine co-owned by BHP and Vale (the mine operator is named Samarco) (see article here). 

Has cost cutting led to increased mining accidents? Will falling oil prices result in more oil industry fatalities? It is difficult to prove a cause and effect link but statistics point to negative trends.

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