More than half of mining execs think industry is on its way up

Mining executives see lots of more sunny days in 2013 with 55% of participants in a recent survey saying they believe their sector will perform better than it did in the first half of 2012.

In the new report released Monday by the Mining Recruitment Group (MRG), the 125 mining executives who participated revealed their outlook on the strength and viability of the sector over the short and long terms. They also referred to the current management strategies being employed amidst the market turmoil.

The number of optimist leaders is up significantly from the mere 22% of respondents that thought things would get better in the second half of 2012 when asked in June. However there is still a 31% who believe the mining industry is likely to perform worse.

Despite the volatile year for the sector worldwide, the survey showed a marked difference on the executives’ perspective over a 12 month period, with 74% thinking that their company is positioned to outperform the market as a whole.

One of the most cheerful findings of the survey is that 90% of the interviewed executives indicated they were not considering any further layoffs for the rest of 2012.

Instead 66% of respondents say they expect to recruit over the next six months. This is a major reversal in outlook from the last polling, where 60% indicated that they would not be hiring.

In the current landscape, 74% of those polled said that their companies have made a concerted effort to reduce overhead. When asked how that has been accomplished, 70% answered they have scaled back on their exploration and development plans; 60% said they reduced their marketing and investor relations budget; and 35% admitted they have been laying off existing employees.

An overwhelming 89% of respondents indicated that they were just as focused on maintaining cost cutting initiatives as they were six months ago.

The elephant in the room is getting smaller

59% of respondents were moderately to extremely concerned over a lack of investment capital moving into the industry over the next two years, down from 76% holding this view in June.

Substantially down as well is the level of concern over the volatility in commodities prices over the next two years. Only 23% of the executives interviewed said they were moderately to extremely concerned, a marked difference from the 43% of respondents who indicated so in the last polling.

And when asked as to how the current conditions have affected their short term business objectives, 52% of those asked admit that their companies have already scaled back previous laid exploration and development initiatives, whereas only 37% say that current conditions have had no effect on their plans.