The commodities price implosion is a clarion call for mining companies to review their approach to business, an expert from SRK, Roger Dixon, has said, urging mines to invest in research and avoid wishing that recovery were on the door step.
“It is imperative that mining companies take a strategic long-term view of their business, so they can invest timeously in well-researched studies and methodical implementation,” Dixon says. “They need to plan for how best to survive the downturns – while also considering how to invest in the future even when revenue is down.”
Dixon says he believes that, as resource-rich Africa has much to offer the global economy, the productive capacity of the continent’s mining sector must be preserved for better times.
SRK principal consultant, Andrew van Zyl, cautions that the road to sustainability won’t be paved with roses. He notes the growing risks to mining projects – from tightening environmental regulations to more mobilised communities – which could frequently lengthen lead-times and complicate the planning process.
van Zyl says: “Leveraging technology will be imperative – not just to make mining more efficient but to reduce pollution, conserve water and generate electricity sustainably in remote locations.”
To cope in an operating environment in which they are under an obligation to be more carbon efficient he sees mines investing in renewable sources. Further, key to long term sustainability will be how they forge close ties “with communities, local government and other stakeholders to define roles and build local communities”.