January 22nd, 2009



Tolkien: The Lord of The Mines - Or A Comparative Study Between Mining During the Third Age of Middle-Earth by Dwarves and Mining During Our Age by Men (or Big-People)

J.R.R. Tolkien described an entire Age of history in his main opus, The Lord of the Rings. In doing so, he told miners a lot about their past, much before any written record was kept or handed down. At a time when many people are wondering about the future of the mining industry, the possible depletion of natural resources and the modern concept of “sustainable development”, it is interesting to analyse the evolution of the mining industry, not just within the last half of the century, but over the last two Ages. Maybe there will be some surprises, but maybe also some reassurances that although many changes and new ways of thinking have occurred over the Ages, mining activities have continued and survived even through the changes of the miners race from the race of Dwarves to the race of Men.

Big People: name given by the Hobbits and Dwarves to Men

Fourth Age: current age of the world. It started at the very end of the last tale of “The Lord of the Rings”, when Arwen, the Elven Star of her People, vanishes from the world, thus definitely ending the abode of Elves in Middle Earth and the Age of the Elves.

Middle Earth: As the Fourth Age has its “world”, the “Third Age” had its Middle Earth. It is difficult to locate it now, though some regions, such as “the County” for example, seem to have survived in many respects in our actual Scotland.1

Miners: when not preceded by a qualification, this term designates Dwarves in the Third-Age as well as the Big-People of the Fourth-Age of Middle-Earth.

Moria-silver or Mithril or True-Silver: “its worth was ten times that of gold, and now it is beyond price (…). It could be beaten like copper, and polished like glass, and the Dwarves could make of it a metal, light and yet harder than tempered steel. Its beauty was like to that of common silver, but the beauty of mithril did not tarnish or grow dim.”2

Third Age: the Age previous to this Age. The acts and glory of the Third-Age are told in the tales “Bilbo” and in “The Lord of the Rings”.

I think my mind is broken.