Fresh skillsets crucial for mining to survive flux
Golden/Denver Colorado May 9, 2018 – The mining industry faces enormous challenges. Scarceness of resources, slowing economic growth in territories with the highest demand for metals and minerals, and the need for data collecting are just a few of many issues faced. Adding to this, the industry is under continuous pressure to step up in the CSR game and minimize its footprint.
“To turn all these challenges into sound and healthy business, there is need for very specific talent”; says Executive Recruiter Mark Burkley from Integrated People Solutions in Golden Colorado, a partner of Kennedy Executive Search & Consulting. Kennedy, is a global network of privately owned executive search firms, with partners in Australia, Norway, and in the case of the IPS, Golden, Colorado, home of the prestigious and renowned Colorado School of Mines. The Kennedy network, with a presence in some of the world’s most important mining territories, expands with the recent addition of a new partner in Johannesburg, South Africa and strengthens their global mining footprint. Adding to this, many of the partners have specific experience in locating talent and executive search for the mining industry, making the network the go-to partner for any recruitment needs in the global mining and extraction industry.
New technology and operating models
As with any industry, there is a great technological shift happening. Minerals are getting very scarce on a global scale, and trade wars are looming. To reach the limited remaining supplies, new technology and new operating models are required. This requires a need for new and more advanced machinery out in the field, enabling extraction in the remotest areas and harshest conditions. Work processes influenced by lean methodology, is increasingly influencing mining operations, allowing greater output and significant HSE improvements. However, one of the greatest shifts in the industry will come in more areas than machinery and lean working. To be able to stay ahead of the game, mining companies need to collect data, analyse, hold and distribute the data, and have skillsets to put it to good and solid business use. This data in turn needs to be protected, secured and leveraged.
“Where historically, mining attracts engineers, geologists and other technically trained talent, mining companies now also need people with solid grasp of IT, cyber security and understanding of the green shift linked to new technological trends, such as electrification. An example is IoT and how to improve efficiency of operations and maximize output of machinery. New and advanced technology can now allow mining companies better tracking what they produce, securing their value and use, and providing a clear traceable supply chain from extraction to final product. This tracking and traceability lends itself to another huge emerging push for transparency, sustainability, and a consumer/corporate demand to know that they are operating in a socially balanced way. Part of that balance is compliance, and the demand for greater adherence to rules and regulations is growing. A single cell phone video of an environmental infraction can result in huge negative exposure and reactionary expenditure that can have enormous and long-lasting impact on a company. But most companies have not yet embraced, considered or even thought of these opportunities as a positive mechanism, or something that the right talent can allow you to use to strategic advantage. Many of these are only seen as necessary hurdles to doing business or as a reactionary plan to regain compliance after an event has already happened. If they want to increase revenue and continue to grow, extraction companies need people capable of investigating emerging technologies’ potential and how to put it to use in these fast-growing areas. Chances are they have no idea where to begin looking for people with these very specific skill sets. This new breed of talent typically needs to be sourced from other industries and most likely from other countries. That is where the Kennedy Executive global partners can help.”
In general mining companies need to shift their classic B2B perspective to include consumers and other stakeholders. The industry often gets criticized and grilled by groups, communities and even internal members who are concerned about the ongoing tampering with the planet’s surface and environmental impacts of company operations. Despite serious efforts, the response to these increasing concerns is considered too little and too slow. “Mining could be on the foreground of the green shift everybody is talking about. Natural resources are still the way forward. But there is a thin line between exhaustion and extraction, especially in the mind of the consumers. As with many industries today, the provenance and traceability of a company’s products is becoming a more important factor to the markets. Transparency, sustainability, and green/balanced practice is being sought from the consumer base up, and companies who do not have historical resources in the areas of supply chain management, compliance, and sustainability will be challenged to find and recruit talent in these areas. Mining has not historically been known for being green or particularly long-term in their approach to extraction of resources, and yet they have a huge opportunity to become a dominant presence in driving a more balanced practice through information, and technology changes in their industry. A big part of a company’s success is support from the community. For the mining industry, a radical change in perspective is required and partnering with communities is just one aspect of this. It also calls for solid investments in more efficient and less energy intensive ways to mine. Both will require very specific skills and a search for talent new to the industry.”
A recent announcement of the discovery of rare earth minerals in Japan really brings some of these issues to focus. The technological challenges of deep sea extraction are formidable, and to have a more stringent regulatory environment coupled with greater global scrutiny of the impact of how the minerals are mined, means skill sets are needed that have not been required in the past.
Kennedy partner HA Consulting in Oslo, Norway, is not new to the mining industry. They’ve done a number of top management recruitments in the past few years and recently found a CEO and CFO for two big players in the industry. According to Hakon Heksja, owner of HA Consulting: “Mining is truly an international industry. A partner in South Africa opens up a whole new continent to explore. In particular, our collective experience in mining, a specialty we share with our partners in Vienna and Sydney and the obvious mining link with Colorado, the home state of our US partner, means we can now benefit from industry specific knowledge on 4 continents. This allows us to expand our services well beyond our own individual borders.”
Integrated People Solutions has worked in the mining and extraction industries with companies such as Crimson, Encana, Chevron/Texaco, and Searles Valley Minerals. These searches have produced some of the most challenging, and successful placements and some of the more impactful additions to client’s teams.
About Kennedy Executive
Kennedy Executive Search & Consulting is a global partner network of retained search boutiques in Europe, Africa, North America and Asia Pacific with offices in Amsterdam, Budapest, Copenhagen, Denver, Frankfurt, Johannesburg, London, Milan, Monaco, Oslo, Paris, Prague, Sydney and Vienna. The network covers 360 degrees of talent management: executive search finds and assesses the right talent in the market, consulting develops people and organizations. With the addition of Evolve South Africa, Kennedy is now active on 4 continents and in 14 countries and offers a global reach. Between the 75+ consultants and researchers, 30 languages are spoken. As a network Kennedy will run 365 strategic recruitments all over the world this year. Kennedy Executive Search & Consulting helps organizations to achieve their goals and people to enhance their careers every day.