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MEI Online: General Minerals Engineering: Latest News: April 24, 2009


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:: Surviving the Global Crisis
by David Pollard, FAusIMM, Chair, Met Soc

Although the last boom lasted so long that many believed that it would never end, the mining industry is cyclic. Some members will be experiencing a serious global downturn for the first time, while some of us have been through several cycles and are all too familiar with the angst and uncertainty resulting when companies downsize.

Some suggestions from members who have been there before are offered in the hope that younger members of the profession will find them helpful if the worst happens.

  • Networking is important. Branch activities are a good way to keep in touch with local activity and hear about opportunities. In Adelaide in the late 90s, a group of freelance geologists set up a locally based and fairly loose consulting group, which had a higher profile than the individuals, and had the ability to bid for larger contracts than individuals were able to manage.
  • Attend conferences where you can engage in useful networking (eg Mill Operators 2009)
  • Investigate the AusIMM Mentoring program (go to the Members section of the AusIMM website).
  • Read industry and ASX websites and selected industry publications to keep abreast of what is happening.
  • Maintain your networks by email and phone as well as in person.
  • If you have had good material to write a conference paper but havenít found the time, consider if you can do it now.
  • Companies often reduce staff numbers and increase the number of consultants and contractors. Networking can help you identify these groups and the opportunities each presents. The large consultancy groups often increase in size in times like these.
  • If circumstances and finances permit, enrol for a course to improve your qualifications, or take an MBA or a research degree. Position yourself for the upturn which will eventually happen.
  • What really interests you? Where does your background give you experience and insights to branch out into something new? Keep in mind that in a general downturn there will be people from all walks of life competing to gain niche positions.
  • Remain positive and be ready to jump as soon as the cycle starts to turn.




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