The current dip in the mining boom is an opportunity for companies to place themselves as a leader in the market, according to Coffey Mining CEO Dan O’Toole.
“There are opportunities to leapfrog ahead to a place that would have taken us a greater number of years to achieve if we had been in a normal operating environment,” he said.
According to O’Toole, the current downturn has created an ideal environment for new developments.
“Logically the time to begin exploring and starting on a development is now because costs are down and resources are more readily available,” he said.
“This is actually a really good time to do exploration work in preparation for when people’s confidence returns and they are ready to put money into operations.”
Parent company Coffey International Limited last month posted its best half year results in its history which, according to O’Toole, puts Coffey Mining in a better position to handle the difficult economic times.
“The diversification of the broader Coffey business puts us in a much better position than many of our competitors because we have access to work in industries that are less affected by the downturn,” he said.
“Coffey International Limited works in infrastructure, international development and a range of other industries so there are opportunities for our staff to cross over into some of these areas.”
The financial downturn also means that businesses will have to be prepared to decide what choices can now be made and face the possibility of restructuring operations, O’Toole said.
“There are some hard choices ahead,” he said.
According to O’Toole, many of these changes will need to made at an operational level.
“Companies will need to look at improving costs and productivity and the way they are managing projects and that might require some cultural change,” he said.
“Previously, because of the skills shortage and employee expectations we observed an increase in flexible rosters and reduction in site time at many mining operations.
“It is likely that this will change as companies look to increase productivity.”
Despite these sorts of tough decision that will need to be made, O’Toole warns that companies should not lose sight of the fact that the market will inevitably recover, and that they should prepare accordingly.
“The businesses that do well out of this will be the ones that have solid strategies in place to manage the downturn as well as planning for the recovery,” he said.
“In the long term globally, people are looking to maintain their lifestyles and improve their standard of living.
“This means they will continue to consume products and we will continue to have demand for the commodities that are developed into those products.”