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As an experienced mining executive search firm, we have regular conversations with clients and candidates about vital roles in high demand within the mining industry. We commonly encounter one role that is crucial in the sector's growth and development: mining consultant.
For a mining project to be successful, it takes careful planning, knowledge, experience, and execution. Furthermore, with increased political and societal pressures on areas such as the environment and corporate responsibility, mining consultants play an essential role in ensuring that mines are responsible and sustainable while remaining productive.
This role requires exceptionally skilled and qualified professionals due to the expertise needed and their decisive part in creating and producing a successful mining project. This article will dig a little deeper into the day-to-day activities of mining consultants, their key responsibilities, and the education and skills needed. Furthermore, we will explore future trends continuing to impact the mining industry and how this will impact consulting.
Mining consultants are one of the first people that mining companies call upon when they are looking to plan and design a new mine or improve the efficiency of an existing site.
In designing safe and productive mines, mining consultants concentrate on optimising methods for removing resources from ore and ensuring maximum productivity and throughput rate.
During their contracted time working for a mining company, they will work closely with the company's geologists and mining engineers to share ideas, build expertise, and explore methods of maximising mine performance.
Another aspect of the role is that they may be called upon to improve existing mining equipment by analysing current processing operations and implementing methods to improve the mine's efficiency, productivity, and safety.
Key Responsibilities of a Mining Consultant:
Due to the expertise needed to make these vital decisions and strategies, mining consultants are usually required to be educated to a Bachelor's degree level. Specialisms which are highly regarded when applying for a role include:
Advanced degrees such as a Master's or PHDs will be advantageous to your application. Furthermore, if you are applying for senior mining consultant roles, you will be required to have a substantial amount of relevant experience. This experience level will depend on the company, but many ask for ten years or more.
Mining consultants need a wide variety of skills, including the following:
If you have what it takes to become a mining consultant, speak to our mining consultants for more information and support.
Mining consultants offer a broad range of services across the industry to support all stages, from mine exploration to design to closure. Here is a selection of crucial services that consultants can provide:
The economic performance of a modern mine is reliant on careful and detailed planning and management. Mining consultants utilise a vast array of comprehensive, integrated techniques with technical field support and reliable logistics to solve crucial problems at various stages of the mining value chain, right from exploration to rehabilitation.
The mine optimisation and management services that mining consultants offer enable mines of all types to maintain long-term profitability and mitigate risks. Consultants deliver these services using expertise and skill in geology, mining and metallurgy. This experience allows them to deliver a high-quality project safely, on schedule, and within budget.
Mining consultants offer exploration services for existing or potential mines. These services can offer guidance on ongoing strategies or provide initial exploration for early mining needs such as mapping and claim to stake. Below are three examples of services within exploration that mining consultants can offer.
This is usually the first step in the exploration process. Here the mineral prospecting process identifies potential targets for future exploration and, hopefully, a site for a future mining project.
A mining consultant will first explore and document a land's characteristics and structure as part of this process. Then, tools such as geochemical analysis, geophysical measurements, geological surface mapping and sampling will all be used to find potential mineral deposits.
2. Project Acquisition
Once a potential mining site has been identified, or a decision has been made to buy, lease, or joint venture an existing mining project or exploration, the next stage is project acquisition.
During this stage, mining consultants support acquisition negotiations, language translations, technical presentations, and legal issues to guide companies through purchasing a project.
Thorough due diligence is vital when purchasing, leasing, or joint venturing a new or existing mining site or project. This is important through all aspects of the project, from geology to consideration of the environmental impact. To carry out this vital process, effective mining consultants should have experience in the type of project being considered, but mining projects of all phases.
Through their expertise, they can identify potential problems, help avoid common pitfalls, and identify any areas that need further consideration. Not only is due diligence necessary for the acquisition stage of the process, but it is also vital to provide potential investors that they are backing a productive, profitable, and safe mining project or company.
Mining consultants can use their expertise, knowledge of best-practice techniques, and modern and effective technology to provide high-quality data and analysis for mining, mineral exploration, or geological projects.
Geophysical services help mining companies improve the productivity and success of their project site. Consultants can provide these services in the early exploration stages of a project by helping optimise performance and strategy. Types of geophysical services include the following:
Using a mining consultant during a mine's engineering and design process can help reduce risks, provide a higher level of insight and strategy to increase performance, and save lives. Consultants can also support coordinating, managing, and implementing mid-project solutions to enhance a mine's efficiency and growth.
As part of this process, mining consultants will focus on the characteristics of the mineral deposit and gain an understanding of the complete mining context. This allows consultants to identify and address the specific restrictions of each mining project.
Mining consultants support mining companies to use their mine capital, short-term to long-term, effectively. In addition, consultants support producing mine designs and achievable schedules to enable seamless execution and operation.
Mining consultants provide services that can locate and assess ore deposits and, through their vast experience, can guide organisations to the most suitable mining methods for each project.
Consultants offer support along all stages of the mine planning process, from mining method selection and design to plant design, equipment design selection and logistics and geotechnics. In addition, consultants develop plans and design new processes for mining companies to optimise their processes and performance.
Consultants ensure their designs are innovative, cost-effective and environmentally responsible. Furthermore, their work allows organisations to maximise the economic benefit of a project and mining operation.
Mining is undergoing a significant transformation. Mounting social and government pressure has meant that mining has had to take steps to build a cleaner and more sustainable future. Furthermore, several technological advancements, such as artificial intelligence and automated vehicles, have made mining more productive and efficient.
We recently discussed how mining technology is advancing jobs and the industry in our recent blog post. Mining consultancy is no different, and for those considering entering the profession, it is vital to understand how these trends will continue to affect and influence mining consultants' roles.
Social pressures and targets from world leaders around net zero have forced mining companies to shine a spotlight on their environmental impact and reduce their emissions. However, as the battle against intensives, maintaining a 'license to operators' stakeholders and investors will increasingly require actionable plans to address environmental concerns and follow government regulations and targets. Moreover, with the planet's survival a hot topic, investors will see renewable energy practices as a lower-risk investment.
Furthermore, governments are increasingly directing mining Boards to be more transparent about their mining operations' risk to the environment. With momentum building around sustainability and pressure from stakeholders, ensuring current and potential mining projects meet environmental targets will become an increasing part of the mining consultants' role.
2. Mining Technology
Due to the nature of their role, it is essential that mining consultants understand new and potential technology, how it will increase efficiency and productivity, and how to effectively implement, execute, and apply technology into a mine.
To achieve this, consultants must develop clear and structured technology strategies and digital transformation roadmaps for mining companies, allowing them to understand how investing in technology will help maximise performance. Examples of questions that need to be raised, researched, and answered include the following:
As technology advances and plays a significant role in the industry becoming more sustainable, consultants must continue to evolve their knowledge along with the technology.
Mining operations are increasingly getting value from remote operating centres. As in many industries, there is growing consensus that remote working will continue to increase as we step into the future.
As in many industries, the rise of remote working was accelerated by the Covid-19 pandemic. During this period, the adaptation to remote working allowed businesses to continue operations effectively while being able to protect their workforce.
To continue to build on the momentum of remote working, it is vital as part of the planning of a mining project that remote and automated operations are designed to help solve operational challenges and workforce preferences.
In planning these operations, mining consultants must be able to set clear expectations of their effectiveness and how they will benefit the mining project and its workforce.
Has reading about mining consulting sparked your interest in working in the mining industry? Mining is awash with global opportunities for exceptional senior-level talent to help drive the sector forward.
At CSG, we are specialists in mining executive search and are passionate about finding the industry's future leaders. Our consultant gets to know you, your skills, and your ambitions and connects you with employers within the sector who best meet your needs.
If you want more information about how we can support your recruitment journey, visit our dedicated mining page and contact the team today.