Global Head of Natural Resources, Rowan Phendler, and Advisory Consultant, Tom Blower, recently spoke with a panel of industry leaders to discuss how executive teams can build the skills they need to lead mining companies to future success.

The mining industry, and the value it brings to society, is changing rapidly. World events, the decline in talent and skills, and the increased need for transparency and accountability in an industry not well-trusted by the general public, is making leaders rethink how their companies – and their people – operate.

To understand what is required of leaders right now to ensure the success of the industry in the future, Rowan Phendler and Tom Blower sat down to speak with Mark Cutifani, Chairman at Vale Base Metals, Jody Kuzenko, President and CEO at Torex Gold and John O’Brien, Global Lead, Sustainability and Climate in Mining and Metals at Deloitte, to discuss the key challenges faced and how leadership teams need to develop.


Change in Leadership Style

Some of the biggest challenges facing mining are access to talent, community relations and access to land. Right now, the technology available is the best that the industry has ever had, and our ability to communicate and reach people has never been greater, however, bringing all these components together and encouraging collaboration has become tricky. Being proactive to manage the multitude of internal and external challenges in an agile manner is key, but in an industry that has so far relied on age-old ways of working, progress remains hindered.

No matter what challenges leaders face, employees, shareholders and the general public, expect those at the top to bring humility, curiosity, empathy and courage in all areas they work in, and with this comes a change in mindset.


“Often today, the level of adaptation that’s required of organisations is beyond the knowledge and expertise of individual leaders. The skills required to lead this transformation are also very different from traditional leadership skills, and it’s critical that we help executives to think differently about challenges and the ways in which they can tackle them.”

– Tom Blower, Advisory Consultant


Recruiting Outside the Box

Most industries have been used to hiring talent with industry experience first and skill set second, and this includes mining. While industry experience does have its place, it can be limiting, and as we can already see in mining, the talent pool available starts to shrink.

The transferable skills required to help businesses adapt to today’s challenges are universal, particularly when the energy and engineering sectors are taken into consideration. Focusing more on capability than industry expertise naturally opens up new pools of talent, across all levels that can help businesses thrive.

Group coaching also provides an environment for leaders and their peers to discuss issues, share ideas and problem solve without falling back on solely their own expertise and positional authority. What’s more, this is an avenue that can be replicated throughout all levels of management fostering a wider culture of personal development, learning and collaboration.

Leaders today don’t need to be the only ones coming up with the best ideas. Creating a space that enables others to also come up with good ideas is much more powerful and makes for better workforce engagement.


Board Development

be more dynamic and to have a broader range of knowledge and experience, particularly when it comes to data management and ESG.

Coaching, onsite visits, meeting community leaders or collaborating across sectors, offer excellent opportunities for boards to upskill, helping them to investment in their development, and ultimately, their business.


The mining industry may have a lot of challenges, however there are just as many opportunities to reignite how the industry works and transform and attract talent – but it does require a change in mindset from everyone including the board to management.

Find out more about the topics our panel discussed by downloading our white paper. If you would like to learn about our leadership advisory services, visit our web page or contact us at [email protected].