Jake Klein, chairman of gold miner Evolution Mining, has explained in an address at the company’s annual general meeting (AGM) that the industry needs to focus on making mining attractive as a career for young people.
The chairman said that young people were gravitating more towards tech companies such as Facebook and Google. He explained that only eight people were graduating from the University of Western Australia in 2018 as mining engineers, while 2017 enrolment for mining engineering at the University of New South Wales was also only eight people, representing its lowest level in 40 years.
“The support and understanding from the general community of the importance of the mining sector to our country’s past and future prosperity is undoubtedly eroding,” Klein said.
“It is critical for us to regain the high ground in the debate of the priorities of our country and ensure the undeniable importance of the resources sector more broadly.”
The chairman also espoused the importance of Australia’s gold sector, the country’s fourth-largest and fastest growing export as of 2016.
“Gold exported from Australia last year was worth more than our beef, wheat and petroleum exports combined,” he said.
Klein focused on some of the company’s recent successes in the gold sector. In Evolution’s third quarter of 2017, it produced 221,971 ounces of low-cost gold, a company record, while Australian gold producers occupied the top three global positions as the lowest cost gold producers in the world, including Evolution in first place.
It was also revealed that the company’s chief operating officer, Mark Le Messurier, would be stepping down following six years at the company in December, to be replaced by Bob Fulker, ex-Oz Minerals COO, in February 2018.
Evolution has an outstanding team steering a portfolio of high quality assets with an average reserve life of approximately nine years, explained Klein during the conclusion of his speech.
“All our assets are located in the safe jurisdiction of Australia with a highly skilled workforce in an attractive operating environment,” Klein said.
“Our balance sheet is strong, our assets are generating substantial cash flow and our business is well positioned to prosper through the cycle.”