Predicting the disruptors of tomorrow’s mining industry: Deloitte’s tracking the trends 2018
Deloitte Global has released its 10th annual report, Tracking the trends 2018, which explores the key trends facing the modern mining industry as more and more mining organisations turn towards the digital mine.
The report looked at key areas as to identifying future disruptors, key drivers for ongoing investments in innovation and digitisation, developing an approach for the workforces of the future, strengthening government and community relations and repairing the public image of an industry that is more often than not, unfairly tarnished.
As the industry continues to drive for innovation, Phillip Hopwood, believes that the players of the mining world must “rethink the traditional mining model” in order to survive.
“Profound change takes time. To change for the better and pave new paths for the future, the mining industry must focus on driving ongoing investments in innovation and digitization, inspiring their approach to the workforce of the future, manifesting in their commitment to strengthen government and community relations, and guiding their efforts to repair their public image.”
Here we look at three trends that we can expect to see grow over the course of the next 12 months:
Bringing digital to life: Data—and the ability to organize, manage, and process it—is rapidly becoming a competitive differentiator.
Digital thinking must be integrated into the heart of business strategy and practices to transform the way corporate decisions are made. It’s clear that miners need a vision of how the future digital mine might transform core mining processes, the flow of information, and supporting back office processes.
Shifting perceptions: The mining industry has a damaged reputation, this is an inescapable fact. This comes at time where the significant contribution of the mining sector to the world’s economy, continues to grow and one of the leading reasons for this reputation comes down to the environmental implications, and the sector’s lack of clear communication in regards to dispelling the distrust.
The report finds that, in order to rebuild trust with employees, investors, communities, governments, and the public, many leading mining companies are embarking on efforts, such as taking decisive public stances around corporate social responsibility, adhering to voluntary sustainability standards, and passing shareholder resolutions regarding increased disclosure on climate change.
Realigning mining boards to drive transformation:
The biggest drivers of change sit at the highest level. While there are many of people pushing for change, striving for innovation, at the end of the day it requires a board that is willing and, on board.
Boards mired in old ways of thinking will increasingly struggle to fulfill new mandates, such as taking a more active role in challenging the executive team on topics from corporate strategy to digital disruption, talent management, and emerging risk factors. Diverse perspectives are necessary if mining boards are to effectively challenge organizational assumptions, assess the validity of new ways of thinking, and help determine if the organization is taking on too much risk—or perhaps not enough.
Gerald Group resolves iron ore dispute with Sierra Leone
Gerald Group, the US commodity trader, will pay Sierra Leone $20mn and cede a 10% stake in an iron ore project as part of the resolution to a nearly two-year dispute that led to the shutdown of production, the two sides revealed.
Gerald's wholly-owned subsidiary SL Mining filed for arbitration in August 2019 over a royalty payment dispute and suspended the Marampa mine the following month. Sierra Leone's government responded by cancelling its mining licence.
As part of the agreement signed on Friday, Sierra Leone will take a non-dilutable 10% stake in a new company that will replace SL Mining and resume operations at Marampa by June 1, Gerald said in a statement.
Gerald will make two $10mn payments this year and will have the immediate right to ship its current stockpile of about 707,000 tonnes of iron ore, it said.
Both sides will withdraw their legal claims before the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) and International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID), the statement added.
Gerald’s chairman and CEO Craig Dean commented: "I am delighted that we have been able to resolve our differences and have a fresh start and new beginning with the government of Sierra Leone."
Sierra Leone's Mines Minister Timothy Kabba told a news conference on Tuesday that the agreement was a milestone for the country.
"Whatever the pain we may have borne or dreaded throughout these two years ... this outcome justifies our action," he said.
Gerald estimates that Marampa holds about 1 billion tonnes of iron ore with a potential lifespan of 30 years.
Back in 2019, Dean spoke with Mining about the development of Marampa and commented: "SL Mining offers a substantial opportunity for Gerald Group as our Marampa mine in Sierra Leone is set to deliver six million tonnes of high-grade iron ore during its operational life. If you analyse the iron ore market it has transformed, even from a couple of years ago when prices were very low. Now prices have stabilised we’re in a favourable position with our first shipments leaving for China.
"Our goal is to make ‘Marampa Blue’ an internationally recognised premium grade iron ore brand. We intend to expand the delivery of high-grade 65% iron ore concentrate to markets in Europe and Africa.”