Preparing mining operations for a new "supercycle"

"With environmental, social and (corporate) governance (ESG) increasingly at the forefront of stakeholder concerns, mining companies have more factors than ever to consider as the industry enters a new extended boom in commodities prices—a supercycle."   

 

Currently, there is a high demand for metals as the world shifts its infrastructure toward green alternatives. This includes solar and wind energy and renewed interest in passenger rail and other low-emissions transit, as well as their accessibility requirements. And of course it also includes the explosive growth in remote digital work solutions, from home electronics and connectivity to the use of robotics.

This demand isn't showing any signs of letting up. And with steel production in China ramping way up, thanks to an unprecedented programme of infrastructure projects, the need for metallurgical coal isn't shrinking either, even while some economies move away from other fossil fuel use.

Production power, social responsibility

But while the world is placing increased production demands on mines, it is also placing increased ethical demands on them, too. Environmental, social and governance (ESG) considerations have long been part of mining's regulations. Now, however, ESG is becoming as much a question of credit scoring and investment ranking as it is a matter of passing governmental inspection. And savvy investors also understand that they aren't the only stakeholders. The community in which the mine operates—its cultural, historical and political interests—must be taken into consideration as well. Just doing the bare minimum for ESG isn't really enough to be successful. Not even in a commodities' supercycle. 

While different jurisdictions may have different requirements over environmental regulation, global industry guidelines for best practice can offer a pathway toward future proofing company ESG policy. By going above and beyond local minimums, mining operations can position themselves for better stakeholder relationships in the long run, building trust with the community in which they operate. The International Council on Mining and Metals has their own member requirements and ten mining principles aimed at establishing ESG industry standards.

  • Ethical business
  • Decision-making
  • Human rights
  • Risk management
  • Health and safety
  • Environmental performance
  • Conservation and biodiversity
  • Responsible production
  • Social performance
  • Stakeholder engagement

Dollars and change

But these aren't the only factors at play in this supercycle. The US dollar value has fallen over the last year, and of course the European market profile has changed with the exit of the UK. China, meanwhile, has been investing heavily in natural resource development alongside their increased steel production over the last 15 years, in line with their tremendous infrastructural programmes. 

Basically, this current supercycle has a lot more going on, more factors to track, than any previous commodities' supercycle. Not only is there the basic, sustained surge in demand, and thus price, but there is currency fluctuation, major geographical market shift, increased stakeholder scrutiny towards ESG and compliance, and a substantial divestment from traditional fossil fuel use. There are the complexities of both opening new mining operations and closing and rehabilitating mines in alignment with local regulations, which are becoming ever more strict.

Close management of information, performance and stakeholder relationships is going to be vital to successfully navigating this new supercycle from a sustainability standpoint—financially, environmentally and politically. A mining company must be able to cut through the noise of office habits and establish a clear business process. When a company is at its busiest is when it must ensure that operations are lean and robust to withstand sudden changes—future proofing. After all, no supercycle lasts forever.

Confidence in key decisions

This is where Clockworx comes in. Clockworx software has been implemented in complex mining and extraction scenarios to manage the huge array of obligations. It is an entirely customizable workflow platform that sets up a project and programme management capability that tracks what sometimes feel like conflicting priorities. It ingests data from other apps to give a clearer picture on KPIs and centralize other key stakeholder information for reporting and sharing across teams that may be far-flung.

Clockworx can be configured around project stages and team structure to ensure that a decision-making hierarchy is automatic, instead of relying on individuals to remember or determine when to escalate. This particular aspect is becoming more crucial now that ESG is such a fundamental focus for investors and communities. The mining and extraction industry, which already is governed by so many regulations, has got to be able to justify every decision. Clockworx helps make it easier to trace how and why decisions are made and to ensure that they are made with all the best and most up-to-date information on hand.

If you're interested in finding out more about how Clockworx can help your mining operations workflow,

 

Contact us today!

 

 

 

 

© 2019 Clockworx Solutions Ltd. All Rights Reserved.