The KIN Catalyst–Brazil: The Mining Company of the Future

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Of the periodic table’s 118 elements 70 are used when making an iPhone.  40% of the global economy is directly or indirectly dependent on the mining industry.  With the increasing demand for resources that is driven by global industrialization and urbanization—particularly of China and India—the global mining and energy industry is experiencing its biggest boom in 50 years.  The energy consumption is expected to rise by 70% in the next 20 years.  What challenges, opportunities—and responsibilities—does this present to the mining industry? And what should the mine and the mining company of the future look like? To explore these questions, the Kellogg Innovation Network (KIN) and Fundacao don Cabral of Brazil, the leading Brazilian executive development center, brought together top global mining executives, thought leaders and researchers for the KIN Catalyst-Brazil event held April 17-19, 2012 in Belo Horizonte, Brazil.  Peter J. Bryant of Clareo and Mark Cutifani, CEO of AngloGold Ashanti, co-chaired the event.

Lacking innovative breakthroughs over the last 20-30 years, the mining industry’s current models for scaling are unlikely to succeed. For example, metals increasingly can come only from deep within the earth, and the current equipment does not work vertically. Just cooling down the temperature to working conditions requires significant amounts of energy.

Another significant challenge is the industry’s negative image—think abandoned mines, exploited communities, dwindling natural resources—and missing the mark on “earning the social license to operate.” To earn that license, mining companies will need to reduce their environmental impact and create long-term brand equity by building and sustaining strong communities where they operate.

To begin addressing these and other challenges, and to help the industry embark on a new level of collaborative innovation, the KIN Catalyst-Brazil participants raised and discussed eight important topics:

  1. Reinvigorating R&D, based on open innovation and collaboration beyond walls
  2. Executing a new multi-stakeholder model and becoming a development partner
  3. Embarking on Road to Zero—in material waste, energy and water use
  4. Total Lifecycle Value (TLV)—using a cost/benefit framework across the mining ecosystem
  5. Recalibrating workforce and education
  6. Simplifying the mining process
  7. Business model at the mine level
  8. Positive industry brand

The KIN Catalyst-Brazil underscored that the case for innovation and collaboration in the mining industry has never been more compelling.  Clareo’ Robert C. Wolcott and Peter J. Bryant facilitated some of the discussions.

Read a summary article by Jørn Bang Andersen.

Read briefing paper, KIN Catalyst Brazil 2012: The Mining Company of the Future.