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Socio-political issues are more important than geology these days - Nick Holland - International Mining
Wednesday, 2 September 2020
Our latest ‘Critical Conversation’ podcast features an exclusive interview with Nick Holland.
Nick is the CEO of Gold Fields, a role he’s held since 2008. Prior to being appointed CEO, he was the CFO of Gold Fields and previously also served as Financial Director and Senior Manager of Corporate Finance at Gencor.
In this 25-minute conversation with Critical Resource Managing Partner Daniel Litvin, recorded on 1 September 2020, Nick brings his four decades of experiences in the mining sector to bear, discussing how companies must understand socio-political issues as a priority, the way in which the Covid-19 crisis could alter the future of the gold industry, why ‘creating shared value’ and working alongside communities has never been more important, and the opportunities climate change presents to the mining industry.
Among the key points raised by Nick:
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- Understanding socio-political issues must be a priority. When entering new countries, mining industry executives used to say: let’s go and find the ‘elephant’ projects, and we can sort out the politics later. Now, it’s the opposite: we must first understand the politics, then see if there are any elephants to be found!
- We’re still on the proverbial battlefield with the pandemic – there won’t be a quick recovery or a return to the way things were.
- The gold market will likely be volatile in the coming years, but there are reasons to be bullish – including gold’s continued use as a hedge against inflation and uncertainty.
- Increased public spending in response to Covid-19 and the resulting government indebtedness will increase the risk of resource nationalism – which could reduce the appetite of companies to invest and result in less benefits to societies over the longer term.
- We must become even more rigorous on how to prevent things like the destruction of sacred aboriginal sites from happening. Communities will only let you build if they believe and trust you.
- Addressing the challenge of climate change can seem daunting – but there is no reason our industry can’t be more climate friendly and profitable at the same time.