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Report urges mining to ditch its ?dirty? image

A report by Deloitte Australia called The Mining Matrix has identified four core industry trends – innovation, digital transformation, the future of work and the image of mining – that can help restore pride in the industry.

Nicki Ivory, a partner in corporate finance at Deloitte’s Perth office, told Quarry the “image of mining” is the “overarching” trend that has to be addressed and is equally as relevant to quarrying.

“The problem in the mining industry – this image of being dirty and all about digging stuff up from the ground – would be similar for quarrying,” Ivory said, adding that the onus was on the industry to devise a strategy.

“Society is too removed with such a negative image of the industry, and partly it is the industry’s own fault. What we are saying is the industry needs to do something, proactively figure out what the strategy is for the industry.

{{quote-A:R-W:275-I:2-Q:“Obviously, there is a component of digging stuff out of the ground, but there is so much more to the industry.”-who:Nicki Ivory, Deloitte}}“How do we convince people that there is a lot more to mining? Obviously, there is a component of digging stuff out of the ground, but there is so much more to the industry. [Mining] does so much good, and the products and the output is something we cannot live without, they are so critical to the supply chain,” Ivory said.

According to the Deloitte paper, the mining community needs to educate, communicate and collaborate across the entire spectrum of government, educators, the community, employees, customers, shareholders and other stakeholders to reverse the industry’s image.

“The fundamental underlining message is to educate society, government, regulators and kids. We need to communicate and collaborate to do this,” Ivory said.

She added it was not only the industry’s economic importance to Australia that had to be conveyed, but also its daily importance in a society that depends heavily on products that would not exist without mining – from smartphones to bridges, health technology and electric vehicles.

The paper states that negative perceptions not only could damage reputations and affect stock prices but also spill over into the community and result in the loss of a social licence to operate.

Ivory said besides new trends in technology, innovation played a key role in doing things differently and challenging the norm.

She also called for a rethink on the type of skills that were needed for the extractive workforce, given the impact digitisation has had on the sector.

“Unless you have the right skills, you will not attract the innovative minds,” she added.

The Mining Matrix was launched by Deloitte at the 2018 Diggers & Dealers Mining Forum in Kalgoorlie, Western Australia, from 6 to 8 August. It can be viewed online at the Deloitte website.

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