Technology has revolutionized every type of work in America. There is no reason to think that these advances will not continue at an even faster rate. As oil companies increasingly rely on the latest advances in drilling technology, they could reduce the number of people working in the oil fields by up to 40 percent over the next few years. Currently, Nabor Industries has automated robotics to handle the pipe on the wells. Chris Papouras, CEO of Nabor, notes that companies that automate more dangerous jobs will notice increased efficiency and decreased threats to worker safety.
In light of these developments, it is surprising when the president and CEO of Hecla Mining, Phil Baker, claims that mines will be good job-producers, with each employing 400-500 workers for at least 40 years. Will the shareholders of Hecla Mining not demand technology upgrades to increase efficiency the next 40 years as well? Will meeting these demands to increase the profits of Hecla not result in fewer workers?
Wayne Hollopeter, Grangeville