JOHANNESBURG (miningweekly.com) – Global mining major BHP CEO Andrew Mackenzie says the mining industry has to show leadership and prepare its workforce for a future in which technology will play an ever-important role.
In a philosophical address at the Melbourne Mining Club this week that also delved into how the West and the East should mesh cultures to drive globalisation forward, Mackenzie said that business had to address legitimate anxiety about the economic dislocation, technology and relentless automation.
He said that the mining sector should upskill its workforce for a fundamental change in the jobs mix, recruit the brightest minds from different sectors, develop more opportunities for young people and rural economies, and paint an “optimistic and convincing picture of a future where augmented reality, artificial intelligence and automation will touch every occupation”.
“Technology lays the foundations for world-class manufacturing systems. These are the systems that cause people to work smarter and be more connected, that create more employment that shield our people from dangerous situations and make them safer and healthier. Technology and innovation will also attract the next phase of capital investment in mining from which the next waves of safety and productivity will flow.”
In order to succeed, Mackenzie said that a multi-generational approach was needed, as well as a sense of entrepreneurism and a culture of inquiry, ideas and innovation. This would be best achieved by combining the dynamism and longer-term thinking of the East with the diversity and debate of the Western model.
Mackenzie said that too many people in the West had a too-short-term approach and failed to look to the long-term future. Doubts about globalisation in the West had also created opportunities for China and the East, he said, pointing to the ambition of China’s Belt and Road initiative.
“The security and prosperity of economies, communities and countries demands that East and West work together freely and innovatively, with respect for all who contribute to shared progress. We have to mesh the best of our cultures together to drive globalisation forward.”