Minister Tom Koutsantonis on what makes a strong mining leader

Australian Mining spoke to South Australian Minister for Energy and Mining Tom Koutsantonis ahead of the 2023 AusIMM New Leaders Summit.

Can you give me some background on your role in Parliament?

I’ve got the statutory functions of being the Energy and Mining Minister and the Transport and Infrastructure Minister.

I’m also the Manager of Government Business in the House of Assembly, which means I set the Government’s legislative agenda in cooperation with Cabinet, and also have sort of an unofficial title of being Father of a House, which means that I am now not only the longest serving member of the House of Assembly, I’m also the longest serving member of the entire Parliament, both Houses.

What do you see as the biggest challenges in the mining industry currently?

Land access, without a doubt. Quantifying what ESG means for individual companies. And I also think that the demand for critical minerals means that that demand could put pressure on mining industries and land access regimes that could lead to adverse outcomes for mining companies and the sector as a whole.

What would you like to see for the future of mining?

I’d love to see a sustainable industry and to see people actually value its worth and understand that we can’t transition to net-zero without more mining.

Mining is hand in hand with our advancement as a civilisation; it creates wealth, it creates opportunity and it  creates prosperity. It’s a force of good and people should be embracing it.

In your opinion, what makes someone a good leader in the mining space?

Understanding what it is Governments and their citizens want from the mining sector, and patience.

I think goodwill is very important. Profits are always going to be important too, but understanding that mining also helps build nations and that sort of perspective is much better than someone who’s just chasing a return.

What would you like to see from emerging mining leaders?

I’d like to see more women involved, not just for the sake of equalisation of gender, but I think there’s a lot that we can get from women working in the mining industry in regards to ideas and growth.

I’d like to see more opportunities being given to local manufacturing and local work and I think emerging leaders would have a better way of doing that then perhaps people with established ways of doing business.

The AusIMM New Leaders Summit 2023 will be held in Adelaide from September 26–27. Registrations are now open.

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