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Culture, leadership and other ‘soft skills’ in minerals exploration

- By: John P Sykes
Posted in: Blog, Conferences, Exploration, Management, Publications, Research


Earlier this year, Allan Trench (The University of Western Australia) presented some of our thoughts on culture and leadership in minerals exploration at the AMIRA Exploration Managers’ Conference.

The few comments from historically successful mineral explorers, such as Roy Woodall and David Lowell, that are recorded in the literature suggest the culture and leadership are important. However, there seems to have been little formal study of the subject beyond this – not even a collation of what has been said on the subject. In our extended abstract and presentation we attempted to classify the different types of minerals exploration culture. Broadly there are two axes which culture operates along: one axis running from empirically to conceptually led work; and one axis running from mining industry focused to inter-disciplinary focus. The Roy Woodall school follows a conceptual, inter-disciplinary approach, whilst the David Lowell school takes an empirical and narrower approach.

Both schools have been successful, and to some extent, both schools are products of the areas and types of deposits they have explored. Nonetheless, we wonder if a more comprehensive study on this subject could be useful to the exploration industry in helping it manage exploration better, and hopefully make more discoveries!

The extended abstract is available on Researchgate, whilst the presentation is available below, through Slideshare:

Mineral exploration culture & leadership – Sykes & Trench – Mar 2017 – Centre for Exploration Targeting from John P. Sykes