At the end of the day, all mining businesses around the world want the same outcome – to make a profit for their stakeholders and employees. Of course, there are many different avenues to this goal; this highlights the importance of leaders, considering what is happening in the wider market.

Capital and cash – top challenges for enterprises

Mining continues to be a profitable industry.Mining continues to be a profitable industry.

To help in this process, Ernst & Young (EY) has recently released its top 10 business risks in mining and metals, 2016-2017 report. Risks aren't always negative, but provide areas of focus for the future as the mining industry continues to adapt to market pressures.

According to EY, the top risk is cash optimisation, followed by capital access, productivity, social license to operate and transparency.

EY oceania mining and metals leader Scott Grimley explained this in more detail.

"Companies have made progress to improve labour productivity, but have hardly scratched the surface on asset productivity," he said in a September 8 media statement.

"The focus needs to be on building a productive, cost-effective end-to-end value chain. Adopting a process model and digital approach will be key enablers to addressing the productivity risk."

"The focus needs to be on building a productive, cost-effective end-to-end value chain."

With slow mining growth around the world, there is a real focus on cash generation and preservation as a way to protect the entity. This is totally different than at the peak of the super cycle in 2008, where the top risk was around skill shortages, industry consolidation, infrastructure access. social license and climate change.

Safety on site

From an economic perspective, it makes sense to concentrate on capital and cash, but your biggest asset to reach these goals is technically your employees. While the EY report didn't touch on workplace health and safety, by creating a safe, productive and innovative environment that places an emphasis on secure processes.

Safe Work Australia reports that mining was the fourth-most dangerous industry in 2015, with four people losing their lives at work. This year has seen another four people not come home.

With National Safe Work Month in October, now is a good time for mining companies to think about safety practices, Chair Diane Smith-Gander explained.

"It can only be a great workplace if it's safe workplace," Ms Smith-Gander said.

"As the leader, you are the person who sets the tone for conversations in your company. If more near misses are reported, and there's a strong conversation about how to avoid them in the future you will really be working to prevent injury."

To run a economically-viable and safe mining operation in 2016, a good deal of planning is required. Talk to the team at SRO Technology to see what role we can play in supporting your business for the future.