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Mining 2017 – ‘The Ghosts of Politics Yet to Come’

- By: John P Sykes
Posted in: Blog, Management, Media, Mineral Policy, Mining, PhD, Publications, Strategy


This week Allan Trench (University of Western Australia – UWA) and I complete our Dickensian trilogy on mining and politics in the Strictly Boardroom column on This week we are visited by the ‘ghosts of politics yet to come’, with some help from Dicken’s characters: Scrooge, Fezziwig, Marley and Cratchit. The characters shape four different scenarios for how the future relationship between mining and politics may evolve – all with supporting evidence visable in the present day.

The lessons from Dickens is that whilst the elevation of the likes of Donald Trump may affect mining and politics in the near future, it is not as simple as extrapolating this forward over the medium or long-term. A variety of different political relationships with mining may arise, and indeed may co-exist in different parts of the world. The political sands are always shifting and thus nuanced strategy formulation requires an ability to operate and grow in a variety of socio-political environments.

The article is inspired by and draws from the final CET scenarios workshop on the future of minerals exploration, which I ran as part of my PhD research at the Centre for Exploration Targeting, UWA, last June. As such I would like to acknowledge the efforts of the team involved: Allan Trench (UWA-Business/CET), Campbell McCuaig (BHP Billiton / UWA-CET), Leila Ben Mcharek (UWA-Muslim Studies), Rob Bills (Emmerson Resources), Ivy Chen (CSA Global), Nick Franey (NFJ Consulting), Mayara Fraeda (UWA-CET), Simon Gatehouse (BHP Billiton), Marcelo Godefroy Rodriguez (UWA-CET), Isabel Granado (Curtin-GIS), Matt Greentree (SRK Consulting), Mike Hannington (Metalicity), Mike Haederle (Rio Tinto), Nick Hayward (Teck), Amanda Hellberg (UWA-Law), Helen Langley (UWA-Law), John Libby (Digirock), Stuart Masters (CS-2 Consulting), Michael Mead (Gold Fields), Joanne Moo (UWA-Environment), Suzanne Murray (Billabong Gold), Ian Satchwell (PerthUSAsia Centre), Janet Sutherland (Curtin-Business), Marnie Tonkin (UWA-Anthropology), Peter Williams (HiSeis), Marcus Willson (CSA-Global), Afira Zulkifli Tahmali (UWA-Environment), Caroline Johnson (CSIRO-Minerals), Adele Millard (UWA-Anthropology) and Robert Sills (Sills Strategic Materials).

This week’s article was entitled: Mining 2017 – ‘The ghosts of politics yet to come’ and is available to subscribers online. Otherwise contact me for a copy.

For keen followers of the Strictly Boardroom column, our book “Strictly (Mining) Boardroom Volume II: A Practitioners Guide for Next Generation Directors” was published last year and is available as a paperback or e-book from Major Street Publishing or Amazon.

Image: ‘Scrooge and the Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come’ from A Christmas Carol (1843) by Charles Dickens, and illustrated by John Leech.