Date Available


Year of Publication


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Document Type

Doctoral Dissertation




Mining Engineering

First Advisor

Dr. Braden Lusk


People’s perceptions of mining are heavily based on the media they consume and the messages therein. News outlets ordinarily report on mining only when there is an accident or environmental concern. When messages that the public is exposed to are negative, it is no wonder that there are negative perceptions about mining.

Current public relations campaigns on the behalf of specific companies or select sectors do exist; however, this is often a reactionary move in response to recent shifts in the socio-political environment. The details of these campaigns are often tied up in proprietary information or withheld by public relations firms. Hiring public relations firms is often cost prohibitive for many single mining companies.

Mining serves a vital purpose in providing society with the base resources to sustain the standard of living it has come to expect. This important purpose needs to be fully communicated to the public in order to educate them. Attitudes about mining need to be identified so misinformation can be accurately targeted. Before this can begin, these attitudes must be measured and knowledge gaps identified.

This work focused on two main objectives on the mining industry’s behalf. The first focus was to determine attitudes towards mining and knowledge about mining. This was done through a survey administered to three counties in Kentucky. From this survey, guidance for communication efforts were produced, through the suggestion of specific topics for messages, which directly addresses identified attitudes of the public and misconceptions about mining. Relationships between knowledge and attitudes were explored, as well as relationships between demographic information and knowledge, and attitudes. Subsequently, an empirical model for predicting individuals' knowledge of mining was produced. The second focus was to apply theoretical foundations to educational and community engagement efforts. Different theories are required for different groups of people depending on the level that mining plays a role in those peoples' lives. In all, how the mining industry communicates with the public needs to be improved, and the work proposed here will steer these improvements.