Are you an ethical investor? Do you consider the ethical dimensions of your decisions when you choose to buy or sell mining-related stock? Do you direct your dollars to companies that enhance local benefit by mining?

At one level we may argue that as long as the mining company is acting legally, they are a valid investment, regardless of what the NGOs may say. At another level you may argue that an investment in a mining company that does not follow the highest levels of responsibility and sustainability is simply a bad investment: both unethical and a bad income generator.

To help you decide how to proceed in this knotty area of morality and investment, I recommend that you download and read a superb essay by Kathryn McPhail of the International Council for Mining & Metals (ICMM). Her essay is titled Sustainable Development in the Mining and Minerals Sector: The case for Partnership at the Local, National, and Global Levels.

In this insightful essay, she looks at what makes for good mining versus bad mining with regard to some thirty-three countries and the claims of NGOs that mining in poor countries generally leads to corruption, misdirection of resources, poor development, and exploitation of the already poor. She concludes that not always do such countries suffer from what she calls the Dutch disease of mining investment and development.

Seems it generally boils down to the presence or absence of effective government; and the responsible interaction of international organizations and mining companies. She concludes: Local based non-governmental organizations can work with local communities and indigenous peoples’ organization and help build consensus on how to share the benefit [of mining] equitably.

Clearly she believes and promotes the idea that ICMM and its member mining companies can help avoid the Dutch curse. And she promotes implementation of many of the fine publications put out by ICMM to provide guidance in how to do this.

So if ethical investing is your cup of tea, I can do no better than recommend you read this essay, look up the mining companies that are members of ICMM, check on their implementation of the ICMM guidelines, and invest in those mining companies rather than the less honorable players. If you make money let me know.