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No one size solution …’ The International Presidents Round Table

Representatives from Australia, New Zealand, Malaysia, South Africa and Hong Kong converged on the Belfry Resort in Sutton Coldfield, UK in October 2017. Terry Pop, secretary of IQ South Africa, joined presidents Clayton Hill (IQA), Peter Morgan (IQNZ), Ir Lee Kam Fatt (IQ Malaysia) and Alfred Chan (IQ Hong Kong).

The group arrived a few days before the IQ’s centenary conference, and used the extra time to network with UK IQ colleagues.

“Our centenary conference provided the perfect platform for our international representatives to join us here in the UK to mark and celebrate 100 years of the IQ,” IQ chief executive James Thorne said.

“We wanted to take the opportunity to find out more about the unique challenges facing each of our international colleagues, as well as the many shared opportunities, and how we can all work together for the benefit of IQ members around the world.”

The global sector

Each of the international representatives joined in an informal, round table discussion about the state of the sector. Subjects for discussion included issues such as continuing professional development (CPD), health and safety, welfare, and global and local economic factors.

The picture that emerged highlighted huge territorial differences, in terms of governance, legislation and control. The view emerged that the quarrying sector in South Africa is largely disjointed and unregulated, with a large number of organisations competing for members.

Australia presents a complex picture of state-by-state regulation on operating standards, environment and safety, whilst in New Zealand government legislation has introduced the world’s first compulsory CPD in the quarrying sector. Malaysia’s federal government oversees regulation across its 13 states, with a large number of government bodies involved. In Hong Kong, the sector’s small size is influenced less by quarrying and more by product users.

{{quote-A:R-W:300-I:2-Q:"Our vision is clear. We will support professionals, raise standards and cement the future of our industry at all levels in territories around the world."-WHO:James Thorne, IQ chief executive}}“The South African quarry industry is seeing a prolonged downturn and is awaiting the lead from government around national infrastructure projects to kick start and grow the sluggish economy,” IQ South Africa’s Terry Pop told Quarry Management (QM) magazine. “This fortunately has not stopped us bringing members together at conferences and functions, although providing cost-effective training remains a challenge.

“Membership levels remain stable but a member survey shows an ageing professional population. Our critical challenge is to develop and bring a diverse young membership on board for the future. To that end we have established a young member portfolio, with support from the board and a young member invited as a full board member to drive this initiative.”

“We have between 4000 and 5000 active quarries in Australia, ranging from large, operations run by multinationals to small, privately owned operations,” Clayton Hill told QM. “The sector directly employs around 10,000 people, with another 80,000 employed indirectly. We’re active in our membership recruitment and have 1620 members. We’ve set ourselves ambitious targets and we’re looking forward to welcoming our 2000th member in the next two years.

“In Australia we have an extremely complex legislative landscape that is the result of six states and two self-governing territories each in charge of its own rules and regulations. While that may have a profound impact on operational practices, there are many common themes that all operators share.

“As an industry body we provide support with information that addresses key themes, such as health and safety, environmental management, mental health and safe drilling and blasting. We’re about being relevant and accessible, which is key to growing our membership.”

IQNZ President Peter Morgan explained changes to the regulatory environment in New Zealand have had a major impact on the sector. It is now compulsory for operators to undertake CPD to both achieve and maintain the ability to practice.

“Since 2015 the government has introduced strict regulation that is bringing about new levels of professionalism and lifting the bar on standards of practice,” Morgan said. “Self-regulation was clearly not working and we welcome any actions that improve operational and individual safety, minimise environmental impact and encourage sustainability.

“The [IQNZ’s] role is to disseminate information. We also work in partnership with the National Health and Safety Council (aka MinEx), the main body responsible for health and safety in our sector. We also have a good relationship with the government’s WorkSafe regulator. What they’re doing to make the sector a safer place to work is excellent.”

Lifting professionalism

“IQ Malaysia (IQM) works very closely with the Department of Minerals and Geoscience in an effort to raise standards of professional development to world class,” IQM President Ir Lee Kam Fatt said. “Of course, our other main objective is to increase membership.

{{image3-a:r-w:300}}“On raising professionalism, currently a quarry manager is not required to hold a qualification to manage a quarry in Malaysia,” he added. “However, the Department of Minerals and Geoscience and IQM are working together to raise professionalism at various working levels in the industry. Since 2012, IQM has successfully organised training courses on the Quarry Managers Certificate (QMC) and, more recently, the Quarry Managers Practicing Certificate (QMPC). The latter will enable formal recognition of professional qualifications.”

The requirement for (or the lack of) formal training and qualifications returns time and time again. Once qualified, quarry managers in Australia are under no obligation to refresh or renew skills. In South Africa, there is a huge gap in the market for professional development, although there is no regulatory requirement.

“There is a great opportunity to grow IQ membership in Malaysia,” Ir Lee Kam Fatt continued. “We have 350 quarries, so the required numbers of trained personnel are 350 quarry managers, plus 350 assistant managers. In 2017, we provided training to 200, so there are another 500 to be trained. We are making progress but will continue to drive forward to raise professional standards.”

The IQM requires all QMC and QMPC holders to maintain membership together with the required CPD hours annually.

Morgan said the IQNZ’s membership has surged by 25 per cent since the introduction of compulsory CPD in New Zealand.

In Hong Kong, there is only one quarry currently in operation. However, IQ Hong Kong President Alfred Chan sees the opportunity to grow membership as considerable. “More than 70 per cent of current members work in affiliated industries, rather than quarrying,” Chan explained. “Given Hong Kong’s proximity to South China, future membership expansion is only limited by resource.

“Membership of the IQ is attractive to people working in affiliate industries in South China because of our international associations. Our networking events are very popular with members, as are site visits to major infrastructure projects. Combine these benefits with our reputation for excellence in CPD and we are well placed to grow.”

Exciting future

Hill said the introduction of compulsory professional development in Australia was a positive for the industry and the IQA.

“Like New Zealand we are facing the introduction of compulsory professional development in the quarrying sector,” Hill said. “That presents challenges and opportunities in equal measure. What we must also continue to be mindful of is remaining meaningful and relevant to our membership. The work we do with women in quarrying and our Young Members Network shows we’re taking great steps in the right direction. We’re now increasingly using new channels to engage our members too, such as social media and webinars.”

In New Zealand, the sector is undergoing further review.

“Just as we get used to the regulatory changes it’s all up for review again,” Morgan said. “What we need is a period of stability. That’s something we can help our members with, helping guide them through the current changes.”

In Malaysia, Ir Lee Kam Fatt said the challenge is to “communicate the value of membership to our sector. Perhaps, like IQ Hong Kong, we need to focus on our international status as a key selling point, alongside access to world leading standards of professional development, networking and site visits”.

Pop is convinced there is a huge opportunity to plug the education and training gap in South Africa but the key to success is positioning the IQ as meaningful, relevant and adding value in a market flooded with membership bodies.

IQ chief executive James Thorne summed what he saw as an exciting time ahead for the IQ – both locally and internationally.

“We have aspirations to be the lead membership organisation representing professional standards in quarrying around the world,” Thorne said.

“What I’ve heard, seen and learned from my international colleagues is that there’s no one size fits all solution and that for us to succeed we need to innovate and speculate. We have a fantastic team supported by the world’s biggest names in mineral extractives. Our vision is clear. We will support professionals, raise standards and cement the future of our industry at all levels in territories around the world.”

Article courtesy of Quarry Management (UK). Visit

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