Underground Activities, Thoroughly International

26 September 2023

Sometimes, it is just amazing to get a glimpse of just how much is happening on tunnel projects, and the many discussions and activities about underground space, in so many places across the world. Kinda stops you, on occasion. Stuns even, then you smile. What a great industry. A calling, even.

A dimension of the motto of civil engineers – to direct the resources of nature for the good of humankind.

There are so many more dimension to that now, too, considering the world and its environment, resources, and economies, but also that is not only about civil engineers – or tunnellers, excavating and building – but in many disciplines trying to be more effective, together.

Communication is far more important than it seems upon hearing or having sight of that word. The essence behind it is the measure of its importance – to try to get the other person’s interest and needs, and find ways forward together. In conversations, committees, project teams, supply chains, working groups, national and international bodies, and more…. And that is only within the infrastructure, for example. There is everyone else to appreciate and communicate with, to see why they might want an infrastructure solution, and perhaps how it may come to be.

And be paid for.

And, on balance, the consequences – and being conscious – of not doing so. Opportunities - cost and lost.

We have a number of articles in this issue that, again, share the scale and variety of international endeavours in underground space. A BTS meeting heard of shaft design challenges to help a vision of turning some disused mines in Australia into a pumped storage project; a review of data on the largest hydropower caverns is shared; project spotlights come from Turkey and Sweden; Paris is welcoming tunnellers in October; ITA and insurers update their joint code on risk; and, also from ITA – President Arnold Dix reviews what’s been happening in his hugely busy first year leading on change.