GLOBAL MINING LEADERS OPEN UP ON INNOVATION STRATEGY
‘We have always responded by increasing output or decreasing costs, but real competitive advantage is won by changing the formula. That is, exposing people to different ways of thinking.’
The biggest names in global mining have taken part in a ground breaking review of innovation strategy across the world’s leading mining companies. Their insights have been released in a new report which provides a roadmap for the future of innovation.
CEOs and board members from 15 of the world’s top mining companies including Rio Tinto, BHP Billiton, MMG, Roy Hill, Antofagasta, Newmont and South32 were interviewed as part of the Innovation: State of Play series.
Innovation: State of Play is a survey and analysis platform created by corporate consultancy VCI in conjunction with founding partner the Energy & Minerals Institute at The University of Western Australia.
The CEO Insights report is the latest contribution to our understanding of the global innovation ecosystem by analysing CEO responses across four broad themes – The Big Shifts, Leadership & Architecture, Strategy & Innovation and Ecosystem.
Rio Tinto Iron Ore CEO Andrew Harding, who was interviewed as part of the project, said innovation strategy is inseparable from business strategy.
“We achieve this by setting a vision and targets that can only be achieved by innovating,” Mr Harding said. “It also means we must invest in the people this new innovation paradigm requires.
“People often think about innovation largely limited to the concept of improving productivity or driving costs down. But innovation is much broader than that in application, particularly in the mining industry.
“Through the automation of the equipment we’re actually seeing a safer workplace as an outcome. And I think you’re going to see better outcomes for the environment as well, and then ultimately that plays back into improved performance outcomes for communities.”
EMI Director Mark Stickells said industry needed innovation to deliver a step change reduction in environmental, health and safety impacts, from mine design to end of mine life closure obligations.
“This is fundamental to how the community judges the industry,” Mr Stickells said. “Innovation can also create more economic opportunities in the regional communities that directly support mining operations.
“Seeing more of the wealth dividend created locally is critical to community support, and innovation needs to be part of this.”
VCI Partner Graeme Stanway said unfiltered access to the world’s mining leaders had created a unique window onto the minds of those responsible for driving business culture and innovation.
“The report is intended to help CEOs and senior executives improve the way they use innovation to position and architect their businesses for the external drivers and competition they will face.
“The CEOs interviewed were highly engaged in the conversations helping us achieve terrific levels of detail, breadth and insight.”
Interviewees for the report were (titles at time of interview):
- Andrew Harding – CEO, Rio Tinto Iron Ore
- Andrew Michelmore – CEO, MMG
- Barry Fitzgerald – CEO, Roy Hill Holdings
- Diego Hernández – CEO, Antofagasta Minerals
- Duncan Price – former MD, HIsmelt; former MD, Cliffs Australia Pacific Iron Ore
- Erica Smyth – former Chair, Toro Energy
- Gary Goldberg – CEO, Newmont Mining
- Glenn Kellow – CEO, Peabody Energy
- Graham Kerr – CEO, South32
- Jimmy Wilson – President, BHP Billiton Iron Ore
- Keith Faulkner – former MD, Ok Tedi Mining
- Megan Clark – Board Member, Rio Tinto; former CEO, CSIRO
- Paul Muller – MD, Consolidated Minerals
- Rick Howes – CEO, Dundee Precious Metals
- Tom Butler – CEO, International Council on Mining and Metals (ICMM)
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