Risk Security and Communication wrap up

Risk Security and Communication wrap up

There are many risks associated with mining, but not all of them are bad.

The WAMC’s latest Education Panel highlighted the biggest risks currently affecting the sector.

1. Loss of talent and people

Lara Bruhns, General Manager Operations Services at Newmont Asia Pacific, told the Education Panel audience the loss of talented people was one of the biggest risks facing the mining sector in current times.

“It’s much, much easier to get people now than it was two years ago,” Ms Bruhns said. “But we all know that it’s going to turn again…it’s an old risk but it’s starting to emerge again and that’s out talent and our people.

“[But] developing our people is something that’s quite difficult to do during a downturn.” Ms Bruhns said while it was difficult for companies to invest in its people while times were tough, there were significant payoffs if they managed to do so – loyalty being one of the main ones.

2. Social license to operate

The need to obtain social license to operate is growing increasingly important for mining companies; both Ms Bruhns and Platform Communications Director Kirsty Danby said there was now more expectation from communities than ever before.

“Community expectations are evolving and changing constantly and just when you think you have got on top of them something changes,” Ms Bruhns said.

“It’s about being transparent and recognises that we should all be engaging with communities on a personal level,” Ms Danby said.

“But the fact of the matter is that we’re not investing enough resources into it and that’s a massive risk.”

3. Missed opportunities

Managing Director of CSA Global, Jeff Elliott, operates in countries with a high level of risk, and yet he went out on a limb to say that “risk is fun”. He quantified it by explaining that, in his world, risk presents opportunities and that if calculated risks weren’t taken progress couldn’t be made.

“It’s about gaining an education into the risk and understanding what it represents.”

4. Responding to fraud

Michael Cassidy was able to share unique insights from the world of forensic accounting. As BDO Australia’s National Leader Forensic Services he said one of the biggest risks he encountered was how people handling fraud investigations and the lack of insurance.

“what policies and procedures do you have in place? How are you going to investigate a fraud? For example, if you interview someone in their lounge room it could be considered duress … it’s pretty hard for them to leave their own lounge room,” Mr Cassidy said.

“There’s also a lack of insurance coverage for fraud and cyber-attacks – kidnap and ransom may also be a good idea.”

5. Cutting good costs

Andrew Stanbury, General Manager – Workplace Safety Solutions at IFAP, said one of the biggest risks he had encountered was companies cutting good costs from their business, such as health and safety focused employees.

Instead, he had witnessed a trend where it was preferable to upskill staff from another area so they could take on the Health and Safety responsibilities.

“That’s not a bad strategy. But the thing is that organisations need to be careful that they don’t give away all of their Health and Safety people.”

6. Social media

Social media is often seen as a risk by resource-focused companies, but Kirsty Danby said their biggest risk around this new media was not taking advantage of it.

“It’s not only a way for companies to communicate to audiences, but also a way for them to engage in the conversation,” she said.

“There is a wealth of information at companies’ fingertips if they are willing to take note of what is being said on social media – this sort of intel can become extremely valuable down the line.