Someone turned the tables on me in an interview last night…
“What about you Carly, where would you like to see the industry in 10 years’ time?”
I’m amazed no one has asked before actually and, once the initial panic at being put on the spot had passed, I found I had quite a lot to say. I was thinking about the question long after we logged off of Zoom.
There was only one thing to do. I had to put my thoughts on paper.
So here goes… Here’s my wish list of things I would like to see happen in the mining sector over the next decade, in no particular order.
- More diversity within the workforce, in every sense. I’d like to see multidisciplinary teams incorporating experts from different fields including psychology, neuroscience, biotechnology, AI… all the experts. From all cultures, genders and races. Because the industry cannot tackle the challenges it faces with traditional skill sets and perspectives alone.
- Teams and workplaces that are designed to optimise the performance and wellbeing of people. We’ve put too much focus on equipment and technologies over the past decade. It’s time to refocus on the most powerful tool that any mining company possesses: the human brain. This is also how we will put the I in D&I.
- Mining projects and companies that are designed to create different types of value. It’s not all about money. Success should also be defined by how happy and retentive the mining workforce is, community ownership and prosperity, increased recruitment levels and an influx of exciting new talent from different sectors, a positive impact on biodiversity… It’s time to redefine success.
- Mines that continue to give back to communities and the environment long after extraction finishes. There are some great examples today like the Eden Project in Cornwall, UK. Plans like this should be mandatory for every mine before development starts.
- I’d also like to see more small-scale, agile mining operations that leave no trace upon the landscape after they’re gone. Mining at scale is no longer always the best option.
- Long-term and large-scale investment in change management, at every level of traditional organisations. And also, in repairing the industry’s reputation.
- More collaboration with companies and organisations from other industries. There’s so much we could learn.
- A shift in the balance of investment types. There is a vast amount of capital out there (see impact investment) for those who know how to speak to it. Let’s go get it.
- Progressive, visionary leadership teams who understand the need for a holistic approach to every aspect of mining, and who aren’t afraid to try new things, fail forward and speak out about their experiences, good and bad.
- Widespread acceptance of the crucial role that the mining sector plays in improving the future of this planet. Mark Cutifani recently pointed out that the mining industry underpins 45% of global economic activity. That’s colossal. That’s why I want to work in mining. I want to influence positive change, and I’m delighted to find so many like-minded individuals.
So that’s what I’d like to see. Whether any/all of these things will happen remains to be seen, but I have high hopes.
It feels like there’s been a real shift in the collective mindset and purpose of mining companies over the past 10 years, and I can see the seedlings being planted and nurtured for long-lasting change.
I’m going to revisit these points in 2031 and see what progress has been made.
In the meantime, use the comments section below to tell me where you would like to see the industry in 10 years’ time.