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The Schulich School of Business at York University is capitalizing on the looming leader shortage in the mining sector by offering a first-of-its-kind MBA specialization in global mining management starting next fall.
The two-year program, expected to be announced Monday, aims to appeal to future executives, investment bankers, analysts and other professionals eyeing a top-level career in the risk-driven resources sector.
“It’s great succession planning for the industry,” said Richard Ross, an executive in residence at Schulich and former chief executive at Inmet Mining Corp. The Toronto-based MBA program is expected to crank out future mining executives at a time when many of the current, often colourful, company founders are poised for retirement.
Replacements are becoming more difficult to find, reflecting the overall shortage of workers in a sector that has grown rapidly in recent years as companies take advantage of rising demand for resources.
Last week, Sherritt International Corp’s Ian Delaney announced his second retirement as chief executive, saying he would have left sooner but felt his successors weren’t quite ready.
A handful of other CEOs have also come back from retirement to head mining companies in recent years.
Labour shortages are one of the biggest problems facing the mining industry and collaboration with universities is one way to help prevent operational problems down the road, says a new report from consultancy Deloitte.
“Mining companies must now pursue longer-term, farther-reaching and perhaps less conventional solutions or they may find themselves facing imminent operational disruptions,” the report warns.
Schulich’s specialized MBA program will include courses focused on managing companies and projects through various stages of the commodity cycle, as well as in the more remote areas miners must go to find resources. Matters of increasing government intervention and higher environmental standards in the industry will also be part of the curriculum.
“It’s a very challenging time in the history of the mining sector due to the increasingly complex social, environmental and political climates worldwide,” Mr. Ross said. “I think it’s that level of complexity that is making more demands on industry leadership.”
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