Beyond the Horizon
Author: Sonia Turner, Client Executive at Scope Systems
The theme of the recent AMEC conference was “Beyond the Horizon” and with rousing opening speeches from Sean L’Estrange and Andrew Forrest you would have left thinking that the Horizon was very much closer than the doom sayers would.
Then, as the following weeks have progressed with Gold prices enjoying its highest values for some time, the Evolution story gaining from strength to strength and the Lithium wave continuing to swell, you can clearly see why these speeches were not just simply lip service.
|Image Source: Goldprice.org|
Speaking as I do on a daily basis to the pointy end of mining businesses, one element of Andrew Forrest’s oration did ring true. Mining Business owners can no longer have a slap dash attitude to the capital it spends. Accountability will be key, and if any positive is to come out of the so called “down turn”, then the demands and conservative nature of investors in ensuring that the business is spending their capital in a responsible manner has never been greater.
And in agreement, PWC latest Mine report outlines how the industry has wasted much of the boom. The top forty miners squandering around US$427 billion since 2010 with the US$623 billion in capital expenditure invested over the five year period from 2010 to 2015, nearly 32 per cent was booked as impairments. Ultimately, PwC blamed a “lack of capital discipline” as the main factor.
In my own recent involvement with a client, a company with the desire and smarts to fast track an asset and in which it had all the hopes and drive to do so before December is now 6 months down that track with still no major investor or capital release. Further independent engineers reports are required, additional data from the studies are needed and more drilling to add security to the project has been done. The damage done from the squandered millions is taking a much more adverse effect on the unfortunate developers looking to break through.
The amount of data and information required to be able to give that confidence back to the market has never been greater or more granular, simply the more the better.
This level of accountability and responsibility has driven a need for more than just base accounting systems and usual measures of financial reporting to manage the business.
A move to a more holistic approach that brings together all aspects of exploration and development from management of drilling costs at a granular level, management of contractors, milestones and claims all encapsulated in a single cost effective system specific to the mining industry has become a necessity. It’s now time to look “Beyond the Horizon”.