Robin Williams said “life’s a tragedy to those who feel and a comedy to those that think”.

The writer George Orwell wrote about the use of euphemism. To describe something which is the opposite of what it appears to be – calling a department that wages war the “Ministry of Peace”.

We could come up with our own list of contemporary Orwellian euphemisms. Quantitative Easing a term for the printing of piles of new money. We might also add socialism, the main goal of which is to narrow the gap between the rich and the poor. In China socialism is a type of capitalism which results in one of the highest wealth gaps in the world. That is not narrowing the gap. The West is drowning in debt is now dependent on a “socialism” to drive global consumer demand.

We might also add the European Union to the Orwellian lexicon. It is a Union which appears to incite disunion. There is a desire for fragmentation and autonomy in Scotland, Belgium, Catalonia, Cyprus and Finland. We could add the word “sustainable” in the stakeholder communications of Mining Companies. We all know that mining is not sustainable business without new discovery. The moment you start mining you are blasting and digging your way out of ore and into infinite oblivion. Without exploration one unsustainable mining business has to take over another unsustainable mining businesses. Does it work? Can the merger of two things unsustainable ever make something sustainable?

What is sustainable? Our environment is not sustainable. The energy in our galaxy is fading and is only half of what it was two billion years. We do not have to wait for the lights to go our as we have most likely run out of time to stop global warming?

In the last few weeks red numbers washed over Chinese stocks. Global commodity prices plunged. Small investors in China are curious about this use of the colour red. Red is the national colour of China. Red represents happiness, beauty, success and good fortune. The Chinese give red envelopes stuffed with money to each other during Chinese New Year. Red signifies for me the huge chasm in the cultures between the West and China.

What about the term “Human Resources”. A resource is a stock or supply of money, materials or other assets. A person or organization can use a resource to function. It is one of my pet hates. Human Resources are people not resources or commodities for other people to “use”.

These times are no more tragic and comical and silly as in Orwell’s time. Capital controls in Greece constrict the flow of cash to a trickle. An old woman in Thessalonica cannot withdraw more than €60 from the bank which protects her money. Evil men ferry desperate families across the Mediterranean in coffin ships.

They plough through the wake of super yachts. There are as many 40-metre super yachts as there are billionaires in the world. The destitute flee from war and famine and hopeless grinding poverty. Is it the law of unintended consequences? The rich just flee from taxes and the burden of sharing their bounty.

We are ridiculous and God smiles at the best laid plans of mice and men. On my travels as a geologist I have smiled and sighed. The discovery of one of the largest gold mines in Ghana, West Africa would not have happened but for an IOU on a bad cattle deal.  Tales in May of German POW’s worked to death at the old Igumenskoye gulag gold mine in the Kolyma of the Russian Far East. Why does a former monk try to mine gold from on the hallowed flank of Croagh Patrick in the West of Ireland?  What would pay any geologist to travel 600 kilometres to a gold mine in the sand across Tuareg-held Sahara bringing explosives inbound and gold outbound.

It is the 70th anniversary of the dropping of atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Japan restarts its first nuclear reactor since the Fukushima disaster. It is the same technology. There is a dichotomy between the physics of nuclear power and nuclear weapons. Maybe it is an illusory distinction. Life is a tragedy and a comedy.

Turning and turning in the widening gyre The falcon cannot hear the falconer; Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold; Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world, The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere The ceremony of innocence is drowned; The best lack all conviction, while the worst Are full of passionate intensity.

Surely some revelation is at hand;

Extract from the Second Coming, W.B. Yeats 150th anniversary of his birth


John P. Barry
Managing Director of Irus Consulting Ltd. and Professional Geologist

A widely travelled and highly experienced economic geologist, John Barry is a confidential counsellor to the likely investor contemplating a considerable investment in the intricate business of mining metals. Don’t take a “flyer” and trust altogether in luck and invest your money in an exploration or mining project on the strength of a printed prospectus or the advice of an interested friend without the preliminary investigation and site visit of a reliable geologist with a basic grasp of commerical reality.  Irus Consulting provides  strategic and practical management advice and guidance  to its clients.  Time is a precious commodity for my clients, and indeed myself, as it relentlessly ebbs away and so I  try as best I can to avoid the mediocre - those projects and their champions which do not engender enthusiastic belief and passion.

Irus Services Include:
- High-level strategic advice
- Practical guidance and assistance on project sourcing, acquisition and implementation
- Rapid identification of key project value-drivers and potential fatal flaws.
- Capacity building and coordination of  external consultants.
- Design and targeting of effective marketing campaigns

John Barry was part of very small teams which discovered and sourced several multi-million ounce gold deposits in Africa. He has worked as an economic geologist since 1988 and as a consultant and then responding to the entrepreneurial spirit he was a founder and manager of three public resource companies which raised a total of US$70million. These resource companies are currently successfully exploring and developing gold and base metal projects in Europe, and sub-Sahara Africa. John has seen a lot of rocks working for consultancies such as CSA in both Ireland and Australia and as Senior Associate Geologist with Chlumsky Armbrust & Meyer LLC which is based in Denver.  He is a specialist in zin-lead exploration and in 1992 joined the exploration team which discovered the Lisheen zinc-lead deposit in Ireland as the resource was being expanded in the first couple of years after discovery and in 2008 led the first non Polish exploration company to successfully enter and acquire a major resource-project in the Upper Silesian Mississippi-Valley-Type (MVT) zinc-lead district  in southern Poland – the world’s largest minerlised district of its kind. John (P.Geo and EurGeol) holds a Master’s Degree in Geology from Pennsylvania State University and a MBA from the Edinburgh School of Business, Heriot-Watt University, Scotland.

“I would like to think that I have shown the tenacity, patience and focus required to implement many of my better ideas over the years and that I have learned valuable lessons from some failures. I believe one of my strengths is in communicating quite complex technical ideas in a concrete way that can be easily understood. I am a team- builder and motivator by projecting my enthusiasm and vision for a project. I am committed to the development of young geologists through supportive delegation.” John is now moving more from managing public companies to freelance consultancy and a more advisory role so as to concentrate increasingly on assisting management in effective exploration and discovery. He is Managing Director of his own Exploration Management and Geological Consultancy: Irus Consulting Ltd. Please visit for more information and free newsletter registration. 

John is now moving more from managing public companies to freelance consultancy and a more advisory role so as to concentrate increasingly on assisting management in effective exploration and discovery. He is MD of his own Exploration Management and Geological Consultancy – Irus Consulting Ltd.

Click here to download John’s Statement of Qualifications as a PDF

Click here to download John’s CV as a PDF

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