Price volatility, geopolitical turmoil, rising costs, declining grades and a general lack of financing will make of 2015 another challenging year for the global resources sector, the annual “tracking the trends” report by Deloitte shows.
As in the past years, the consultancy firm outlines the top 10 challenges, as well as the possible solutions to them, which can be summarized as:
The 10 trends and solutions identified in the report are:
1、Back to basics: the pursuit of operational excellence - To heighten operational excellence, miners mustre-think their traditional operational processes and consider their cultural approach to costs.
2、Innovation is the new key to survival: it's about more than just cost control - Miners must overcome their traditionally conservative tendencies by embedding innovation into corporate DNA; thinking big, testing small and scaling fast; leveraging emerging technologies; becoming part of an innovation ecosystem; and preparing for new operational realities.
3、The new energy paradigm: reducing project power costs - Miners should consider a new approach to energy including the use of unconventional fossil fuels and gaining stakeholder buy-in for developing renewable energy facilities.
4、Dwindling project pipelines: walking the supply/demand tightrope -To avert the risk of future supply constraints, mining companies need to find a better balance between meeting short-term investor and analyst expectations and maintaining project pipelines.
5、Financing's great disappearing act: the implications reverberate across the market - While solutions are limited, juniors may be able to avert disaster by wooing foreign investors, pooling their resources, exploring alternative financing options and positioning for private equity.
6、Survival of the juniors: navigating troubled waters -To capitalize on shifting ownership patterns, juniors should be taking steps to get their assets in order and consider options from partnership and joint ventures to sale and consolidation.
7、Seeking new skillsets: shifting industry realities call for a new generation of talent - To attract new skills to the sector, companies will need to commit to diversity, explore new talent management systems, get better at recruiting talent in high demand and invest in more targeted training.
8、Riding the waves of geopolitical uncertainty: from best guess planning to embracing uncertainty - Response strategies include lobbying for greater policy clarity, leveraging mining associations to influence government policy, becoming more risk intelligent and planning for myriad scenarios.
9、Rising stakes around stakeholder engagement: companies struggle to balance competing interests – Companies should work to build win/win platforms, communicate in new ways, leverage the power of social media, work with mining associations to negotiate with local communities, improve their corporate giving practices and consult with affected community stakeholders to plan mine closures.
10、Engaging with government: finding new ways to communicate and collaborate - Strategies to counter regulatory uncertainty include working to build better government relationships, becoming more vocal in both industry association and through social media, measuring social impact, helping to set the policy agenda, and better leveraging mobile technologies.
When digging into specifics, Philip Hopwood, Deloitte’s Canadian and Global Mining Leader, says he sees three main key trends to impact Canadian miners:
1. Riding the waves of political uncertainty: In general, the industry must be prepared to embrace uncertainty this year, with politics at the forefront for affecting decision-making in the industry, for example:
Expected growth in China, stability in India, but other Asian countries cannot be discounted
Fraud remains a significant issue across Africa, South America, Russia and the Philippines
2. Financing’s great disappearing act: Miners in Canada continue to have barriers to raising cash. For example:
Global mining stocks down 43% since 2010, equity investors remain leery and the situation is difficult for large and mid-tier producers, fatal for junior miners and mining services companies
3. Engaging with government: Different regulations across Canada make it a difficult landscape to operate in. It is imperative that the mining industry becomes more strategic when dealing with the government.