Regardless of your opinion of the reality and/or causes of climate change, I suspect these are the relevant questions for the mining industry:

· What will climate change mean to the mining industry?

· How can the mining industry avoid negative impacts of climate change?

· How can the mining industry benefit from climate change?

Swiss Re has a fascinating report: Opportunities and risk of climate change. The report does not address mining, but the broader principles it sets out may be worth considering in trying to answer my questions.

Another report in a similar vein is from Marsh & McLennan: Climate Change Risk. This report reminds us of the opportunities inherent in green industries, the need for appropriate insurance, and adoption of risk management programs.

I speculate that the first issue arising from climate change that may affect the mining industry is a growing shortage of water, or at least an increasing cost to getting the water needed to operate a mine. There may be greater social conflict involved in securing access to water between the mine and the surrounding inhabitants. Do we need increased research on minimizing water consumption in mining and processing?

Another climate change issues that will affect the mining industry is greenhouse gas emissions. Greg Dipple of the University of British Columbia forwarded me a superb paper called Verifying and quantifying carbon fixation in minerals from serpentine-rich mine tailings using the Rietveld method with X-ray powder diffraction data. An abstract is available at this link The full paper, for which you will have to pay $25, is available at this link.

Opportunities for the mining industry associated with climate change must surely lie in provision of the materials that will be needed to build the facilities needed to cope with climate change. The supply of soil and aggregate to build the dikes and berms to limit flood damage is an obvious example.

Somehow I am sanguine. I cannot but believe that mankind will respond with normal resolution and enterprise. I must believe that free markets in democratic countries will make money making people comfortable. Even if that money-making involves selling research reports on the technologies needed to survive, succeed, and prosper.