Earlier this year, alva reviewed all discussions relating to Mining Indaba 2017. Our analysis looked at the key issues being discussed and identified the greatest risks and opportunities to corporate reputation in the mining sector.
You can view an infographic of the findings below, but three of the main issues to come to the fore were indigenous ownership, innovation and water.
alva’s analysis found that the most important issue at the event was indigenous ownership, as the South African government was deciding if it should impose a new Mining Charter requiring companies to keep a level of black ownership of mining assets at 26%.
In recent months, this issue is again in the headlines as South Africa’s Minister of Mineral Resources tabled a new Charter, raising the black ownership threshold to 30%, as well as pressing for other regulatory obligations that critics claim will cripple the industry. Since then, the new Charter has been tabled following criticism from South Africa’s Chamber of Mines, an industry body representing the country’s key players within the industry.
Being seen as an innovative company is a strategic priority for many of the world’s top miners. Recent coverage shows that mining companies have been some of the quickest to take advantage of automated vehicle technology, with both BHP Billiton and Rio Tinto recently reaping the reputational benefits for their near-complete transition to driverless trains in the Pilbara region. In Australia, Rio Tinto is now referenced in articles discussing government investment in automation.
The link between mining and innovation is not solely confined to operational and commercial benefits. At Indaba, Anglo American CEO Mark Cutifani was the most vocal executive around the future of water in mining – a topic that boosted sentiment around both him and his company. Earlier this month, Anglo American announced that it was trailing a “dry water” made up of silica particles, representing an innovative approach to the overuse of the resource in mining. As Indian miner Adani recently found out, use of water in areas traditionally stricken by drought can lead to reputational damage.
Events like Mining Indaba are excellent barometers for key emerging issues within the sector. By analysing all the content related to discussions and reactions, companies can incorporate the findings into their strategic planning to ensure their positioning is best aligned with stakeholder concerns and expectations.
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