Austmine 2019 Review: Keynote Presentation – Andrew Cole, CEO & MD, OZ Minerals
Austmine was excited to have Andrew Cole, CEO & MD of OZ Minerals as the keynote speaker at the Austmine 2019 Conference & Exhibition.
Under Andrew’s leadership, OZ Minerals has emerged as a true leader of innovation in the mining industry and has adopted a collaborative approach to the implementation and design of new technologies with their suppliers. Andrew is particularly passionate about leading and developing people, creating safe workplaces and driving continuous improvement, which is reflected in OZ Minerals’ changing organisational culture.
In his keynote speech, Andrew presented his broad perspective of how the industry is positioned to innovate, along with the changes within OZ Minerals that have helped them to re-align their strategy and corporate culture.
Andrew began by discussing the culture he aims to implement at OZ Minerals to build a modern mining company. His team is focused on HOW they operate, rather than what assets they own or what they dig out of the ground. They want to be lean, agile, innovative, customer centric and have business models developed to allow front line managers to make their own decisions. This is due to the fundamental belief that you can’t predict the future, so you can only pivot quickly in a rapidly changing environment if you have the right culture.
He presented a few examples that highlight their changing culture. They want to be cash conscious and focused, so they moved their office away from a prime, top floor spot in the Adelaide CBD to the airport precinct, as large, lavish offices don’t give an impression of lean operations. They want people to be collaborative and to not think about hierarchy, so they have re-designed their office away from isolated, locked away cubicles to a totally open plan environment. They want people to be innovative and to challenge the status quo, so they got rid of systems in the business that inhibit this. People often don’t have the time and space to be innovative in existing systems.
Andrew went on to link the challenges they face as a business to the overall issues prevalent in the mining industry. He focussed on the brand of mining, using Apple’s announcement of seeking to use no primary mining materials and recycling existing materials instead, as an example. In his view, they aren’t doing this for purely economic reasons, they are doing it because they no longer want to be associated with the mining industry. This is an early shot across our bow and unless we transform how we operate as an industry, more examples like this will arise. One company can’t do it alone. It is an industry issue, not a company issue.
Secondly, he investigated the framework of business models and supplier relationships in the mining industry. He discussed that many companies in the industry like to present their suppliers as partners or collaborators, but how are these companies true partners if we use a traditional procurement led process?
OZ Minerals have undertaken a process of partnerships through new industry initiatives. The Explorer Challenge, in collaboration with Unearthed, was launched with a $1 million prize pool to find the next big mineral deposit in Australia. In the spirit of true collaboration, OZ Minerals opened up their entire vault of exploration data and weren’t quite ready for the responses they received, with over 1100 participants from 62 countries. Many entrants also thought of things OZ Minerals never would have, bringing an outside perspective to fusing data sets and making predictions using that data.
OZ Minerals was also an Innovation Partner for the Austmine Conference and participated in the Ideas Exchange. This utilised the ‘Slack’ platform to provide information on key operational and strategic challenges to allow input and brainstorming from the broader industry. This is another terrific example of allowing more insights into operations to solve major challenges.
What’s next according to Andrew? Using crowd sourcing to create a modern mine. It won’t be easy, but is an important initiative for re-shaping our industry. As he declared about their future ambitions “Why would we just use the ideas of 2 or 3 engineering companies, when we can use the ideas of over 7 billion people.”
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