The mining industry faces enormous challenges and indeed opportunities. Over supply of certain resources, spectacular increase in demand for others, uncertainty in mining regulation especially in some crucial developing countries, slowing economic growth in territories with the highest demand for metals and minerals, are to name just a few. Adding to this, the industry is under continuous pressure to step up its CSR game and minimize its carbon footprint.
“To turn all these challenges and opportunities into sound and healthy businesses, there is need for very specific talent”; says Jorg Stegemann, CEO of Kennedy Executive Search & Consulting, a global network of private owned executive search firms. With partners in some of the world’s most important mining destinations such as Australia (covering the entire APAC region), Norway, and even Golden, Colorado, home of the prestigious and renowned Colorado School of Mines, The Kennedy network was already present in some of the world’s most important mining territories. With the recent addition of Evolve International in South Africa, a leading retained search boutique firm specialized in the appointment of Board, Executive Committee and critical skills to the African mining industry, as new partner in Johannesburg they strengthen their global mining footprint even further, 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, technology is driving significant change into the global mining sector that brings about new operating platforms that drive more economically focussed mining methods that in turn increase profitability. Amongst other matters, this requires a need for new and more advanced machinery and automation out in the field, enabling economic extraction in the remotest areas and harshest conditions. Work processes influenced by the lean methods of the process industry influences more and more mining operations, allowing increased output and significant HSE improvements.
But the shift 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 also to collect data and analyse this to inform a solid business case. This data in turn needs to be protected and secured.
Adam Ginster of Kennedy’s South African Partner Evolve International in Johannesburg: “Where historically, mining attracts engineers, geologists and other technically trained talent, mining companies now also need people with solid understanding of IT, cyber security and understanding the green shift linked also to new technological trends such as electrification. An example is IoT and how to improve efficiency of operations and maximize output of machinery. In addition, advanced technology enables mining companies new ways to track their commodities securing their value and use and providing a clear and traceable supply chain from extraction to final product. But most companies have not yet embraced, considered or even thought of these opportunities. If they want to increase revenue and continue to grow, they need talent to investigate its potential and how to put it to use. Chances are they have no idea where to begin looking for people with these very specific skill sets. This new breed of resource 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 CSR B2B perspective to include consumers and other stakeholders. The industry often gets criticised and grilled by groups, and communities who are concerned about the ongoing tempering with the planet’s surface and its environmental impacts. Despite serious efforts, the response to these increasing concerns is considered too little and too slow. Ginster: “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 consumer. 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.”
Between the partners of the Kennedy Executive Network there is solid understanding of and experience in the mining industry. In having appointed Board Directors, Chief Executive Officers as well as built entire executive committee teams on behalf of global major mining houses through to junior mining firms and private-equity backed mining portfolio companies, South African Partner Evolve International for instance, is regarded as the leading search firm on the African continent within mining. HA Consulting, Kennedy’s partner office in Oslo recently found a CEO and CFO for two big players in the industry. Integrated People Solutions, Kennedy Executive’s network partner in Colorado, worked for a variety of companies in mining and extraction. And then there is the vast experience of the partner offices Moorlands Human Capital in the United Kingdom and JRS International in Australia, both with long track records in the industry and its suppliers. With this, the network has developed a strong executive search competence in this industry. Stegemann: “Mining is truly an international industry. With Evolve International, our partner in South Africa, joining, we open up a whole new continent to explore. In particular the specific experience in mining and extraction of our partners in Norway, United Kingdom, Australia, South Africa and the United States means we can now benefit from industry specific knowledge on 4 continents, 5 if you consider our Australian partner covering the entire APAC region. This allows us to offer a truly global services to both clients and candidates”.