Almost half (44 per cent) of mining companies globally have ranked licence to operate as the biggest risk to business, according to Ernst and Young’s Top 10 Business Risks and Opportunities 2020 report.
More than 150 global mining executives were surveyed for the report, where licence to operate retained the top spot for the second year in a row.
In second place, jumping from seventh in 2019, was future of workforce, and digital and data optimisation remained in the industry’s top three biggest concerns.
EY global mining and metals leader Paul Mitchell said increased social pressure could result in a complete loss of license, so clear branding was essential to address shifting expectations.
“Licence to operate is now impacted by increased expectations of all mining stakeholders, including investors and consumers,” Mitchell said.
“Perceptions of the sector as being old-fashioned and dirty need to be challenged, so building a social bond is make or break.
“Miners need to be part of the solution, not the problem, by engaging with topics including the circular economy and green mining of the future.”
The report indicated the workforce would require vastly different skillsets to keep up with digital and technological innovation in the future.
Mitchell said 77 per cent of occupations across the industry were set to be enhanced or redesigned by 2030 amidst technological advancements.
“By better understanding the future skills required, miners will be able to strategically plan their workforce and sustain their competitive advantage in global markets,” Mitchell said.
Retaining its spot in the top three, mining executives recognised digital effectiveness as a key to sustainable productivity and margin improvement.
The 2020 report also saw four new entrants in the top 10; reducing the cost of carbon, high-impact risks, replacement of production and innovation.