I’m getting tired of all the negative focus on the Polley Lake tailings pond breach. Can someone please show me an industry, any industry, that has a 100 per cent perfect record with no accidents or problems to speak of? Accidents are part of progress. And without progress, where would we be? We would still be chasing down our dinner with stone-tipped spears instead of topping up parking metres from our cellphones while we dine at a favourite restaurant.
Risk and reward are an inherent part of progress. They underpin our entire economic system. The mere fact that risk is involved in progress means that there is no 100 per cent: At some point, something will go wrong regardless of the precautions taken. Even the rocket scientists at NASA don’t have a 100 per cent record. They’ve experienced all manner of unforeseen events, right up to and including exploding space shuttles and rocket misfires!
We can’t let fear stop us from balancing and managing risks and benefits. And we can’t stop extracting the metals and minerals from the ground that are essential to our way of life. When I look around at the material goods we take for granted and make use of every day, and the metals that are essential to these goods, I see the positive side of the risks we have carefully balanced with the benefits. So let’s not get mired in the negatives. There is much that is positive to be found if we just stop for a moment and put things into proper perspective.