Thought Leadership

5 ways to enhance your mining operations

How miners can transform their businesses to achieve operational excellence in the year ahead

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The challenges for metals and mining operations leaders

Mining Operations – COVID-19 has profoundly transformed the way we do business. It has forced organizations to think differently about how they operate with little cash. Primary industries like natural resources have been fast to find innovative ways to overcome the crisis by engaging remote workforce, ensuring onsite safety through rigorous protocols, and identifying novel ways of working. All the while, remaining focused on delivering shareholder value.

With the new year already into its second month, there is a cautious sense of optimism for 2021. The global vaccine rollout is encouraging and many countries are focusing their hope and efforts on a post-COVID ‘new normal’. For many sectors however, the devastating economic and productivity consequences of the crisis will be felt for years to come.

According to S&P Global Ratings Industry Top Trends 2021: Metals and Mining report, the pandemic has had a significant impact on industrial activity and global steel markets. Downstream producers and operations are still a long way from full-swing production. The road to recovery is long and the potential for prolonged economic weakness remains a source of ongoing uncertainty. And this, in turn, could undermine growth, weaken market sentiment, and increase commodity price volatility.

There is no question – the world has changed. Normal has gone and we are never going back. This creates the need for leaders to reinvent their businesses.

So, what does this mean for metals and mining operations leaders? As chat with some of the leading primary organizations in the world, in the support of their operational and digital transformations, we sat down recently to plan how leaders can transform their operations amid ongoing uncertainty and achieve operational excellence. As a leader, here are the top five things you can do:

Related: 4 emerging trends driven by the global mining boom

1. First and foremost, focus on your people.

The future of business (and mining operations) is people. Untapped people power is a company’s greatest asset and its secret sauce. Create an engaged and energized team willing to ride out challenges and buckle down to perform by adopting Active Management Behaviors and a HeadsUp Leadership style.

2. Implement active management strategies to ensure speed and certainty to cash.

Budget blowouts and schedule overruns negatively affect the financial performance of a company and ultimately, its share price. Ensure speed-to-cash and limit budget overruns by analyzing risk, developing detailed mitigation plans and implementing Short Interval Control. The outcome will be a continuous improvement loop of enhanced productivity and saved time.

3. Do more with less through an Active Management Operating System.

Constraints drive innovation and change. This is true not just for tangible resources, but for intangible assets such as leadership. A well implemented Management Operating System (MOS) will allow you to maintain high levels of productivity with limited resources. Active Management Behaviors provide a framework for people managers that ensures consistent and focused leadership for mining operations.

4. Think of the customer journey when you evaluate your supply chain strategy.

Never has it been more critical to deliver against customer expectations. Increasing communication frequency with your supply chain will ensure agile responses to changing needs. First movers can compensate for the challenges left in the wake of COVID-19, by delivering an enhanced customer experience. Achieve this by launching rapid and targeted cost reduction, optimization of capital projects and revenue enhancement programs.

5. Digital benefits through humanistic enablement

Digital programs will be an important lever, but only when enabled through people. New technologies need to add to existing human capabilities, not replace them. Businesses looking to digitize should have a Digital Journey plan that ensures ROI by successfully implementing proven technology and engaging your people in the process. To reference our first point, first and foremost, it should be about your people.

In summary, the mining operations faces further uncertainty and challenges in the year ahead. The key to success however is how leaders respond to ongoing uncertainty. Getting on the front foot by securing your operations through a sustainable framework is key. To find out more about how we can help you transform your mining operations and achieve operational excellence amid uncertainty, contact us at

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Posted on February 8, 2021

By Jon Wylie

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