top geology books 2017

Top Mining Geology Books for 2017

By: Erik Ronald, PG and Dawn Schippe, PG
Mining Geology HQ

2 January 2017

Recommended Reading for Mining & Exploration Geologists in 2017

Like many people at this time of year, we will spend a bit of time looking back at 2016 to celebrate the successes and key learnings for the year. Soon thereafter, the mind turns to what’s next and how to make 2017 a better year – Time for New Year’s Resolutions! I’m not talking about the standard ones of “lose a few kilos/pounds”, “exercise more”, or “save more money”, but of real to-do lists including which books to read in order expand your knowledge and perspective.

Here is the Mining Geology HQ list of top books any geologist (or engineer) in the mining industry should read in 2017. Some will make you better at your job while some are simply an interesting or entertaining read.

In no particular order:

1) Bre-X: The Inside Story by Diane Francis.  This is a great story of fraud, lies, gold, promotion, scandal and the stock market. For anyone in the mining industry, I think this is a great read. It should be mandatory for those involved with reporting of Resources & Reserves or tasked with promoting a junior miner. To give you a sense of urgency on this read, the movie “Gold” is set for release in early 2017 and is based on the Bre-X scandal.

2) Finding Far Away by Lisa Wade.  This memoir is about a young American from Montana working for a gold miner in Peru. It covers the challenges of being an expat in a “third world” country and a female trying to make it in the male-dominated mining industry. All of this happens within the extraordinary landscape of Peru.

3) SME Mining Engineering Handbook (Vol. 1 & 2). Not exactly a pool-side novel but this is an essential reference and read for anyone employed or interested in the technical side of mining. I’ve had both the hard and electronic copies since the last millennia and continue to find them useful on a regular basis.

4) The Big Score: Robert Friedland, INCO, and the Voisey’s Bay Hustle by Jacquie McNish. This book is all about the behind-the-scenes drama at exchanges and board rooms when dealing with a world class find like Voisey’s Bay. It focuses on the clash between arguably the world’s most successful promoter, Robert Friedland and the more conservative, world’s largest Ni producer at the time, INCO.

5) Geology in the Field by Robert Compton. If you’re a geologist, this had better be on your shelf. The classic “Bible of Field Geology” is an essential reference for any geologist in the industry.

6) The Big Fella: The Rise and Rise of BHP Billiton by Peter Thompson and Robert Macklin. The authors present the intriguing and complex history of Broken Hill Pty Ltd & Billiton Plc and how they came together in 2001 to form the world’s current largest mining company. It’s a great behind-the-scenes view into the luck, ego, greed, and fortunes at the major international miner.

7) Tensleep by Sarah Andrews – This recommendation is pure fiction but due to the geology and mining (oil & gas) themes we love it! This is the first in a series of Em Hanson books that follow the heroine geologist through challenges we have all faced in the industry but with a murder-mystery twist. The author is a geologist and many scenes in the book are based on or inspired by real events and people. If you’d spent much time in central Wyoming you might even recognize a few.

8) Going for Gold: The History of Newmont Mining Corporation by Jack Morris. This book tells the rich and colorful history of Newmont Mining Corporation, currently the world’s number two gold producer. From early beginnings in the world’s richest gold camps to modern mines, this is a great inside look at a quality company.

9) The Map that Changed the World by Simon Winchester. This book is about William Smith, British geology, and the world’s first geological map. The author does an excellent job of describing the context and importance of Smith’s map at a time when coal and transportation via canals where critical to industrial development. It’s a great insight into the early days of applied geology.

10) Annals of the Former World by John McPhee. No list of “must reads” in geology would be complete without something from John McPhee. He is one of the few authors who can effortlessly convey a sometimes dry and technical concept into an entertaining story of people, history, and culture. Annals of the Former World is a compilation of the author’s trips across the U.S. with regional geologists from various physiographic provinces. This book has spent a long time on my nightstand and is well worth the time.

So whether you enjoy these books on your Kindle during your morning commute or while on holidays, we hope you enjoy these recommendations and are able to tick a few off the list during 2017. Happy reading and Happy New Year!

Feel free to comment and share this article. We’d love to hear some of your recommendations and what books make it on your 2017 list. As always, we encourage you to become a Mining Geology HQ Community member via the free sign-up form.


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Posted in Mine Geology, Mineral Exploration, Resource Geology.

One Comment

  1. Herbert C. Hoover, Principles of Mining, 1909
    Hugh McKinstry, Mining Geology, 1948
    Both Hoover and McKinstry are classics that are still worth reading. Get copies from a used book store.

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