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Geoscientist Online

Hidden Riches: A Celebration of The Mining Institute of Scotland

dyrplThis is an unusual book, and ‘Hidden Riches’ are indeed buried among its pages.  As a celebration of the Mining Institute of Scotland (MIS), it “..is not a social history of mining or of mine workers...rather it is presented as a tribute to the inventiveness and professional skills of a small body of engineers and specialists on whose shoulders ultimately the success of a significant part of Scottish industrial history rested in the past and continues to do so in the changed circumstances of the present day”.   

The book’s preface addresses the importance of preserving records for future generations, especially anecdotal material, which will be lost with the inevitable demise of the current older generation of mining professionals.   Preserving this material is deeply important to ensure that the lessons of the past, costly in terms of both finance and human life, do not have to be repeated.   The MIS itself was established on the back of a costly accident, with the aim of bringing together various relevant industry professionals to further the prevention of accidents and the advancement of mining science.   This, along with professional registration, has been the role of the MIS throughout its existence.   Hence this is an important book; it feels somewhat like a bequest, in recognition of people who have shaped history.  Equally important and interesting are the lessons learned by the Institute itself, and how it has adapted to the changing needs of the industry and its members. 

This usefully illustrated book is arranged in two distinct halves; the first being a collection of histories including the development of the Scottish mining industry and the establishment of the MIS.  The historical contributions of MIS members to the coal, oil and gas, gold and other minerals, and mining machinery manufacturing industries have been significant.   The final half of the book features biographies of thirteen MIS members, illustrating the widely varied professional roles of the membership through huge changes in the mining industry over a relatively short time period.   Some interesting career pathways are described, and sound career advice is noted.   The importance of the MIS in many of these careers is evident, in the provision of new information, as a forum for discussion and for CPD.   

Vitally, and despite reservations about its editing and binding, members of the MIS, indeed anyone involved with mining, should purchase this book, which is not a big ask at just a tenner.   

Reviewed by Catherine Kenny

HIDDEN RICHES: A CELEBRATION OF THE MINING INSTITUTE OF SCOTLAND by Richard Crockett with contributions by Craig Durham and Graham Smith, 2014.   Published by: The Mining Institute of Scotland plc 134pp ISBN: 978-0-9929058-0-4 List Price: £9.99.  W: www.mining-scotland.org