After the Mines

Schuylkill County, Pa., stands as a testament to life in a mining community without a mine. Formerly eastern Pennsylvania's thriving capital of anthracite coal country and the setting for many of novelist John O'Hara's stories of greed and power, the county now has the third-lowest per capita income in the state. With few jobs to entice its young people to stay, its population is both aging and dwindling, and real estate values are significantly lower than elsewhere in the state. The great coal mines stand silent, grass creeping over the gaping pits. This is not the kind of future De Beers envisions for Africa. In the 1950s, Sir Ernest Oppenheimer set forth this mission statement for Anglo-American/De Beers: To produce value for shareholders but in a way that's socially responsible and beneficial. It was a novel approach in an era when businesses rarely considered environmental or soci
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