2012: A year for calling leaders to account – by Geoff Candy (Mineweb.com – January 2, 2013)


Tragedy, firings and calls for leadership were at the heart of the mining sector’s big stories of 2012.

GRONINGEN (MINEWEB) – 2012 was a big year for leadership. A host of countries, including France and China elected new leaders, others, like the US, chose more of the same. But, all around the world, leaders were being forced to work a little harder to win votes – unsurprising really, when one considers the parlous state of the global economy.

But, it was not just in the political sphere that leadership was being questioned. Mining leaders, at both a government and a company level were put on the spot. Indeed, one could argue that leadership (or a lack thereof) was at the heart of many of the sector’s largest stories in 2012.

The biggest and most tragic story of the year was the unrest on South Africa’s gold and platinum mines – unrest that led to the massacre at Marikana and a wave of strikes almost unprecedented in the industry.

While the full extent of the changes wrought in that crucible are yet to be seen, it is certain that the sector has undergone profound change and will have to see much more before it can begin to recover.

The judicial commission of inquiry into the massacre being Chaired by former judge Ian Farlam, has yet to reach a verdict but it has already raised a number of questions about leadership on all sides of the issue.

As Gold Fields CEO, Nick Holland said in conversation with Mineweb, “during those days, the sector looked over the precipice and didn’t like at all what it saw.”

The next trick will be ensuring that here is sufficient leadership within the sector to ensure the sector need not reach the edge again but, it is going to be a battle that will require not just miners but government and union cooperation as well.

Speaking to Mineweb in November, Gold Fields Chairperson Mamphela Ramphele, explained that now the initial crisis is over the sector needs to get together and deal not only with the short and medium term problems it has highlighted but, more importantly it needs to create a vision of a mining industry in South Africa which is appropriate for the 21st century..

“That’s the long-term that we need to be thinking about: How do we take advantage of this enormous endowment that we’ve got in mineral resources, the biggest that is known and yet we’ve have missed out on the opportunities that other mining countries have had through the resources boom that has just now ended.

For the rest of this article, please go to the Mineweb.com website: http://www.mineweb.com/mineweb/content/en/mineweb-mining-finance-investment-old?oid=168384&sn=Detail