AusIMM’s snapshot of future mining leadership

AusIMM’s 2021 New Leaders Conference returns this year.

AusIMM’s 2021 New Leaders Conference will be held in Brisbane and online in September, providing an opportunity for young professionals to network with their peers, connect with renowned mining leaders and discuss important issues impacting the industry.

As the mining sector rapidly evolves, its workforce must be willing to step into this new environment to ensure the industry develops and remains strong.

With growing environmental, social and governance (ESG) requirements and an industry moving towards automation and electrification, young leaders must have the toolkit to navigate a changing world. 

AusIMM’s New Leaders Conference returns as an in-person and online event in Brisbane on September 28-29.

It will provide mining students and young professionals with a chance to network and learn from some of mining’s brightest and most successful leaders. 

This year’s conference will cover leadership growth and development, diversity and inclusion, social and environmental impacts, safety leadership and mental health, and technology and innovation. 

BHP Nickel West’s principal business planning – climate change, Samantha Langley

BHP Nickel West’s principal business planning – climate change, Samantha Langley, headlines the speakers presenting at the event.

Langley will discuss the role of mining as the world adapts to climate change, including how it will supply critical minerals for clean energy technologies. 

“Customer and investor demand for sustainable sourcing of minerals is growing at a rapid pace,” Langley says. 

“But many people are wondering how mining companies could become more sustainable and reduce their own carbon emissions to net zero. 

“I am very passionate about making a difference in this transformation. I lead the BHP Nickel West decarbonisation portfolio and transition to net zero sustainable nickel and work closely with our operational, functional and marketing teams to achieve these goals.”

Langley will demonstrate how BHP’s Nickel West mining operations are already paving the way for the company’s transformation to net zero, and how attendees can use their skills for climate action. 

BHP has taken numerous steps to ensure it achieves net-zero emissions by 2050.

This includes pledging at least $US400 million ($535 million) for its five-year Climate Investment Program in 2019 to develop decarbonisation technologies. 

BHP has also developed internship, vacation work and graduate programs to bring young people to the company. 

“The BHP FutureFit Academy provides nationally accredited traineeships and trade apprenticeships to bring operational roles to our sites,” Langley says.

She confirms it is vital for the mining industry to have a significant focus on ESG to secure future investment.  

“The customer and consumer demand for sustainably and ethically sourced products is also increasing, with buyers now assessing a company’s ESG performance along with product price and quality,” Langley says.

While the mining industry is well positioned for growth, Langley warns there will be challenges ahead for the next generation of leaders, including how climate change may impact on water scarcity and severity of weather events at mining operations. However, she believes opportunities will also emerge in the transition to cleaner energies.

“The energy transition from fossil fuels to clean energy will create significant growth for the mining industry,” Langley says. 

“The demand for the critical minerals required to create the products for this energy transition such as battery storage, electric vehicles, wind turbines and solar panels is forecast to skyrocket in coming years.

“New technology, automation, digitisation and innovation will be essential tools for new leaders to ensure the mining industry can continue to efficiently and sustainably extract critical minerals for the world to limit global warming and address climate change.”

For Langley, the AusIMM New Leaders Conference will help young people connect with their peers and mining leaders. 

“The conference is a fabulous opportunity for students and young professionals to meet with other like-minded future leaders on a national platform, giving everyone a chance to collaborate and learn, build friendships and make connections they may keep for the rest of their careers, even potentially leading to future new work and career opportunities,” she says.

Langley expects that a progressive mining industry will open doors to a positive and productive change for future generations.

“Being open to change means the mining industry will continue to ensure it maintains a competitive edge by adapting quickly to new situations, seizing new opportunities, addressing challenges quickly, encouraging innovation and upskilling its employees leading to improved business practices and increased growth,” Langley says. 

“Adapting to change means we build a resilient business that continues to thrive even through variable commodity cycles and ultimately makes our mine sites safer, more sustainable, productive and efficient.”

Leading mining companies BHP, Newcrest Mining, Glencore and contractor Thiess are proud supporters of the 2021 New Leaders Conference.  

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