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Miner Indiscretions

alridhAs its title might suggest, this is not a book that should be taken too seriously.  Rather, it is a hilarious action-packed adventure, following young Timothy’s early geological career.  At the start, he is a young graduate working on a modern deep gold mine in South Africa.  However, he cannot control his emotions; his unrequited love leads to an assault on his competitor, and thus dismissal.  In desperation he answers a dubious advertisement at a mine and a company no-one has heard of.  He progresses unopposed through the haphazard selection, securing a new job exploring for gold in the dilapidated Yellow Snake Mine. 

The tone for Timothy in his new post is set on arrival as he falls into the office of the mine manager, demolishing the office door.  All is not as it seems in this operation, with all sorts of scurrilous behaviours and scams.  One of his first questions (about monthly tonnages and gold grades) elicits the response that these are “variable”.  The run-down mine is faced with closure and all present are desperate to keep it open to save the tight-knit community in the face of certain unemployment thereafter.  Actually prospecting for more gold takes rather a back seat in the possible actions. 

The eccentric locals and expats employ desperate scams, illegal schemes, subterfuges and downright lies to find escape-avenues for the mine.  Timothy initially struggles to reconcile his professional standards with the activities already taking place, but is soon convinced and inveigled into becoming involved in dubious activities, even leading some of them.  Quite what he would have made of any sort of code of ethics remains uncertain as such prosaic considerations are not entertained.  In carrying out these various illegalities, Timothy struggles through encounters with African wildlife, consultants, riots, ghosts, floods, government officials, explosions and a very frustrating sex life in his attempts to find some actual gold.

This is an entertaining read.  I found myself reading on to see how the bizarre situations developed.  I related to the misguided driving forces and the ingenious approaches adopted to convince the outside world that the mine has a future.  You will have to read it to find out if they all lived happily ever after, but in doing so you are guaranteed to have a good laugh.

MINER INDISCRETIONS by JON ARDEMAN, 2013. Published privately.  340 pp softback.  ISBN 1499304854.  List price £7.65, ebook £1.99.  W: