Diggers and Dealers 2018 proved a new generation of mining industry leadership is flourishing.
‘Buoyant’ is the word that’s being used to describe the mood at Diggers and Dealers in Kalgoorlie this year. And why wouldn’t the mining industry be happy? Commodity prices are up, battery minerals are opening up exciting new opportunities, there are jobs aplenty and gold producers are drowning in cash.
But there has also been a marked change since the end of the last boom – and that’s the personnel. Many of the old guard — the well-known former managing directors and chief executives who drove the industry’s success — have retired or moved on to new challenges.
And that, says Mining People International Managing Director Steve Heather, has allowed a new generation to flourish in a market that’s ripe with opportunity and potential.
“The number of new leaders, chief operating officers and managing directors — especially of emerging companies — are really a breath of fresh air; it’s a new generation of leadership in the industry,” he said.
A new approach to some old mining projects
“They’re younger; they think differently; they probably haven’t made their money yet so they’re willing to have a crack at something.
“That’s not to say the other generation didn’t do that; it’s just the bust after the last boom lasted five to eight years and through that quiet period a lot of them have restructured their affairs or got out of the industry. That’s left room for this new generation.
“I think why that’s important is that a lot of these ‘new’ projects are actually renovations of old mines, which had become uneconomical but with the improvement in prices are viable again. A lot of the old guys probably know too much about these projects and don’t feel like having a go at them again. But for the younger generation, they’re having a crack at it for the first time; it’s something brand-new.”