The International Mining and Resources Conference (IMARC) 2023 in Sydney provided a platform for the mining industry’s transformation, emphasising the urgent need to decarbonise and align with zero carbon goals. The conference provided critical insights into the mining industry’s importance and its substantial role in the global shift towards sustainability.
Decarbonisation and New Materials
The mining industry plays a pivotal role in the global decarbonisation effort. Dino Otranto, CEO of Fortescue, has emphasised the critical need for steel, which is essential in this context, with its demand expected to be at least tenfold that of other critical minerals. Fortescue’s initiatives, such as the shift towards Green Iron and fleet electrification, demonstrate the potential for scalable renewable solutions within the sector. This commitment to sustainability is further exemplified by EDL’s Coober Pedy Hybrid Renewable Power Station, operating with 75% renewable power, marking a rapid transition towards greener practices. However, it presents a paradox that, despite these significant advancements in sustainability and decarbonisation, crucial for the progress of green technologies, the perception of mining among many Australians still skews towards it being at odds with a greener future.
Global Collaboration and Geopolitical Tension
In the context of geopolitical tensions, the conference highlighted the importance of a united global community approach. Collaboration across industries and with key global players, particularly China, is crucial for advancing the global decarbonisation agenda. This interconnectedness, especially in developing new energy technologies, underscores the need for strong international partnerships and clear communication. Such collaborative efforts are essential for a successful and sustainable energy transition.
Diversity & Inclusion and Industry Culture
There was a focus on the transformative cultural shift within the mining industry, recognising it as both a challenge and an opportunity for growth. James Johnson, CEO of Geoscience Australia, underscored the value of psychosocial safety, noting that a workplace where individuals feel safe and valued is key to fostering collaboration and innovation. Danielle Martin, Director of Social Performance at ICMM, added that people want to work with people that they trust and in a company that aligns with their purpose. Consequently, it becomes imperative for the mining industry to critically analyse and improve its communication strategies around shared purposes and values, ensuring alignment with the evolving cultural dynamics.
Leadership and Communication
Rohitesh Dhawan, President & CEO of ICMM, illuminated the critical role of communication and storytelling in addressing environmental, social, and governance (ESG) challenges in the mining industry. He emphasised the importance of authentically engaging with local communities, noting that transformative change hinges on how these interactions are handled. Dhawan’s poignant remarks, “If we don’t change how, why will never be good enough,” highlighted the potential of local communities to become advocates for mining, especially in its role in the energy transition. His insight into ESG’s dual role of increasing demand for minerals while restricting supply underscores the necessity for the mining industry to improve its narrative. This strategy is vital not only for internal motivation but also for attracting top talent, shaping public perception, and positioning the industry as a key player in both local empowerment and global sustainability efforts.
The emphasis on attracting top talent by reshaping the mining sector’s image highlights a key area where Goldrick Ellis can contribute. As a boutique leadership search and advisory practice, our expertise in connecting organisations with exceptional leaders corresponds to the industry’s current needs. Our approach, grounded in our values of being human-centric, curious, courageous and resilient, is well-suited to help the sector tell a more compelling story. This alignment of our expertise with the industry’s evolution positions us not just as a service provider, but as a partner in shaping the future of mining. By realising purpose through human potential, Goldrick Ellis plays a crucial role in guiding the mining industry towards a future that balances business goals with broader societal and environmental considerations.
Written by Amy Hewitt