There is no doubt that the approach mining operations will be taking in 10 years time will be different from today. The changes in technology, equipment and process will undoubtedly improve our way of operating.
But what about the most important future factor? PEOPLE. Who will seek out a career in mining? The recent boom bust cycle has deterred a lot of people from considering a career in mining. This is now at a point where undergraduates entering mining disciplines are reaching all time lows. We should all be concerned about this.
This cycle is not new, for those that experienced the last down cycle in the early 2000’s and the ones before, the same gap in professionals ultimately contributed to a generational gap in skilled professionals now in their mid 30’s to early 40’s and has arguably resulted in a gap in skills and depth of talent in mid and senior management. Couple this with those people that left the industry over the past 5 years and our ability to solve the current and future challenges is under threat.
What does the future look like with decreased numbers of skilled engineers, surveyors, geos, accountants, supervisors etc? We are already starting to see skilled front line professionals becoming a scarce commodity again.
In 5, 10, 15 years time when the graduates of tomorrow will be playing a significant role in leading our industry, who will have been there to mentor and coach them in preparation for their roles and will there be enough people to meet the need?
I guess only time will tell and history may or may not repeat itself, but one thing is certain, as an industry we need to find a better way to manage our most precious resource, people.
What are your thoughts on how this could impact you or the area you operate in? Maybe you have thoughts on a possible solution? Would love to hear your thoughts.
Written by Simon Cohn (Managing Director)