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#013 Rob Interviews The Group Head of Mining at ICL Group Tim Daffern

In this episode, Rob interviews Tim Daffern. They discuss the routes that can be taken at the beginning of a mining career and also the skills and attributes that any aspiring MD should be looking to develop as their career progresses.   
We also gain an insight into how Tim has managed companies through challenging periods and the skills he has employed to successfully turn them around. 
Tim’s mining career began in his native Australia where after university he started out as an operative and then had further training as he progressed. 
He has always seen engineering and technical skills whilst working with the men and the machinery as the cornerstone to his strengths providing him with the platform to reach senior and executive management. 
He always had an interest in the technical and wanted to know why it was being done that way and if it could be done differently to bring improvements. 
What advice would you offer a graduate? 
All young graduates should seek roles in operating, there are more opportunities in Australia due to the scale of mining. 
A lot of UK mines, including London based financial businesses like graduates who’ve gone out to Africa or Australia and done 5 or 7 years to gain practical experience, there are potentially very good jobs in the UK in consulting, financial institutions or in operating mines. 
What are some of the key skills in executive management? 
Fundamentally it's about teamwork and about pragmatic leadership. It is about having profoundly strong engineering and technical skills and sharing those in a way that is about teaching other people to solve problems. 
It’s not about giving the solutions it's about working as a team and helping the team to develop their problem-solving skills. Establishing a peer review process will help build the skills of the team further. 
You’ve worked for mining companies, consultancies and a merchant bank 
What the difference between these organisations? 
There are similarities – you need to have a good understanding of technical and engineering matters across all areas. 
You need to be strong communicator, with good written and verbal skills. 
You need to have confidence in your own skill level 
The differences are; 
Mining Operation is focused on cash generation 
Consultancy is about providing detailed advice 
Merchant banking involves both complex commercial skills as well as an understanding of a corporate situation. 
Would you need different attributes for each area/ organisation? 
In Merchant banking, you need to be very articulate so this would need to be a very strong skill, a solid commercial corporate understanding is also necessary. 
A Mining company is about balancing and compromising between technical operations and cost. 
In Consultancy, you are hired ...

#012 Rob Tyson interviews General Manager of Saudi Comedat Rodney Lacy

In this international episode, Rob visits and interviews Rodney Lacy who is currently working in Saudi Arabia, mining phosphate. They discuss the role of the expat and what you should be doing if you aspire to be a successful general manager in the industry. Listen in to find out more about the development of mining in Saudi Arabia and the opportunities available.
What Is It Like To Work As An Expat?
It can be difficult to get into the overseas market but if you can get in and build a reputation it can be a very positive career path.
Moving overseas for me has been the equivalent of gaining a master’s degree because I’ve learnt so much. Getting into the expat role was a career-changing experience for me.
When you are an expat you’re a guest in the country and your job is to pass your knowledge on to your local counterpart.
The experiences you have, the places you go and the people you meet make it very rewarding and outweigh any financial gains.
What Key skills Do You Need As A General Manager?
Good people skills.  You’ve got to enjoy and understand working with people
We have a job to do – but we spend more time with our colleagues than our families it’s important to be compassionate.
The desire to help other people.
A well-rounded background in mining with tertiary skills in areas including maintenance and engineering
A love of mining.
Knowledge of budgeting and an understanding of all financial aspects connected with your areas of responsibility.
What Advice Would You Give To Someone Aspiring To Be A General Manager?
Get involved with your company, you might have expertise in operations but volunteer your time to get involved in and find out about areas such as engineering and maintenance as this will increase your skill base.
Continue your education and seek to further it. Gaining an MBA will help to develop and increase your understanding of the business as a complete entity.
The general manager role is one where you have to know enough about everything in order to function successfully.
‘I never envisioned myself as being a world traveller but if you have an opportunity to go overseas you are going to meet a lot of great people ‘
‘Be brave enough to step out and learn, others will see you are willing’
‘You have to have enough vision to see where something might take you’
'You can learn something from even your worst boss’
‘It’s ...

#011 Red Rock Resources; Interview With Andrew Bell

In this podcast, Andrew Bell talks about his journey from working as a natural resources analyst at Morgan Grenfell & Co back in the 70s through to his role as chairman with Red Rock and Regency Mining the companies he is currently involved in.
He gives investment tips if you're looking to invest in mining and resources companies on the stock exchange and what you should be looking for in a company. He explains what’s happening in the finance and private equity markets at the moment and the challenges mining companies are facing in securing finance.
Red Rock Resources
Is a mix of investments and partners and follows a structure associated with corporate finance.  The company has a policy of developing assets then selling them out and keeping a royalty or interest. Red Rock is focused on production and to get things into operation works with others.
Regency Mines
This company didn’t have an immediate revenue production prospect so initially, it was pared back to be as lean as possible. Recently it has moved into metallurgical coal in the United States and this has been a good profit generator.
The destinies of the companies continue to be separate as merging would create a relatively small company with too wide a range of mineral interests.
Attracting Finance
Markets are better at raising short term money than long term money because people want to make money fast.
Banks will never be at the front line for lending to mining as they always want to see a lot of equity return for their lending. Junior miners look towards private equity companies and private investors for finance.
For a more informed investor who is looking longer term, working with a company that has clear strategies for generating revenue will be a good mix. There are always good stocks to invest in and currently, it is a good time to be looking for value.
Look for combination of a good project with a path to production or cash flow and a management that is dedicated to producing that cash flow
You can learn from and be influenced by people, from them working in the same industry even if you don’t work with or have met them.
People who have built companies in the same area can all influence to some degree as you can look and see what they did right
‘We are sure that in the end, this will come right’
‘Nothing, of course, is a straight ...

#010 Sound Grounding in The Fundamentals (Interview with Andy Carter)

In this episode we find out about the role of consultants within the mining industry. Andy Carter provides a wealth of information about how consultancies work and the types of projects they work on. He shares his own fascinating professional journey and offers advice about the skills that are desirable in a good consultancy.
In South Africa mining engineers were able to pursue technical challenges with vigour and given time to investigate in great depth. Today cost and time are limiting factors for investigations to this degree.
Pursuing professional opportunities to work around all of the English-speaking world resulted in being well equipped to cope with any challenge.
Establishing a network through contacts is vital. You need to continue to build that network, maintain that network and develop further that network.
At any gathering, make sure you don’t ever leave with nothing even if just a referral
Make sure you ask for work and if they don’t have any then maybe they know someone who does.
Key for a successful telephone pitch are:
Be prepared
Rehearse it
Think through what you want to say before you make the call
A consultancy can lead clients through the complete process from geo sampling through to the end of the process.
Consultancies essentially produce technical reports and these reports are used for financing.
“We facilitate the transactions between to client and the bank, essentially our reports are the show and tell element.”
Mining companies use consultancies as lots of companies do not have resources or technical knowledge. It is now a requirement under 43101 third party opinion that the
report has been put together by an independent party and a consultancy fulfils this requirement.
When we propose a particular solution it’s about persuading the client to take a particular path and demonstrating how the solution can work
“Sound grounding in the fundamentals”
“Consultants are essentially engineers, scientists, technologists who do consulting”.
“Credibility – if you never been near a mine or sharp end its obvious to client”
“Even today the fabric of our society is based on mineral exploitation, just about everything around us comes from out of the ground”
Andy Carter
Andy Carter, Technical Director of Coffey Geotechnics UK, a wholly owned subsidiary of Tetra Tech Inc. and leader of their Swindon mining group who shares his journey from starting his career after graduating and moving to work in South Africa and then Canada working in mineral consultancy space. He explains in more detail the consultancy ...

#009 Exploring Opportunities& Challenges of African Mining; Interview with David Norval

In this interview with David Norvals, Rob explores David’s professional journey through the mining industry, and they discuss in detail the opportunities and challenges of setting up a business in Africa. This podcast gives an insight into some of the challenges which are specific to Africa, but David also shares his knowledge about how and why companies have been successful. If you are interested in understanding more about this fascinating area of the world and its mining industry, then this podcast is provides the answers.
Exploring the opportunities and challenges for setting up a business in Africa.
When you go from a more sophisticated country you think you can easily identify investment areas.
Businesses’ generally start out from a need for something and willingness to work with expats and locals to provide those products and meet the need.
A possible restricting element is capital – registering a business in Ghana is easy but raising local capital or dealing in the local currency is challenging
You have to carefully consider if you have sufficient resources, have you planned for the possible risks potentially affecting African countries. The Ebola Outbreak shut down the economy in Africa. It is the type of risk that wouldn’t be expected in Europe.
Someone starting business in Africa needs to partner with someone local – often African countries look the same and you think they are, but the reality is that they are all very different and misunderstanding this is a mistake many make.
It’s vital that you to understand what’s going on
Finding the right partner is someone who has the same goals values and agrees with the company objectives.
In Africa you have to also be politically aware, understanding that the local partner you have now might not be the right partner in the future due to the changing political landscape.
“Being in the UK at an international company gave me access to people from all over the world. People with amazing ideas”
“When you go from a more sophisticated country you think you can easily identify investment areas.”
“Modern mining employs less and less people every year due to technology
Local communities asking what they get out of it”
Dave Norvals
Originally from South Africa, Dave Norval has been involved in suppling services to the mining industry for the past 30+ years and In this podcast, Dave shares his career and journey where he has been heavily involved in the mining industry in ...

#008 An Interview with MD & CEO of Resolute Mining John Welborn

Welcome back to Dig Deep: The Mining Podcast with your host Rob Tyson. In this episode, Rob is at the Mining and Money conference in London where he interviewed MD & CEO of Resolute Mining John Welborn. Their conversation takes them from John’s former career as a professional rugby player to his modern-day role as CEO of Resolute Mining. John talks with passion about leading the development of the first fully automated underground mine.
Key Takeaways
Transition from Professional Sport. It’s a difficult transition from playing professional rugby to business. One week you will have 40 thousand people cheering you and the next you are working 7 am until midnight in business. It’s tough to change career in that way. John spoke that having that profile as a sportsman helped him in his career, as an accountant, investment banker and as a CEO of a mining company.
What kills did you take from sport into your business career? I think mainly the benefit of focus. I was attracted to the tactical nature of rugby. Each position a specific different role, whether that’s the half-back or prop. In a mining company, we bring together similarly lots of different skill sets from geologists, engineers and financiers. There is a range of disciplines but in the same way that a rugby can be successful if they are brought together under one goal by their coach, business is the same and we are trying to do that with Resolute.
Transition from Finance to Mining. I had initially focused on banking but I was offered an opportunity to interview for a job a small zinc development company. All I could think was, what would I know about running a mining company? However, during the interview, I convinced myself that I was going to be able to run the company. My insolvency background helped, as the mining industry was going through a difficult moment at that point and we were to reposition the company in a different direction.
Starting In Resolute Mining. I was working in the same building as Resolute for many years. Working. It’s been a leading gold producing company for over 25 years. It was a pioneer for an Australian company going and working into Africa, in Ghana initially. John firstly joining a non-exec in and then became the CEO three years ago.
What is happening at Resolute Mining currently? Although the asset is the same in terms of ...

#007 Interview with Chief Operating Officer of Euromax, Pat Forward

Pat explains what Euromax Resources has gone through more recently with government corruption, difficulties with permits with the new governance, political instability and further hold-ups with projects due to all this uncertainty and changing of government personal which has unnecessarily delayed the project's future.
Many of you listening may of experience some if not all of the challenges Pat has faced. He shares how he and Euromax overcame them which may help some of you if you’re in similar circumstances. He also shares some of the things in hindsight he could have done which would have had a better outcome. Tune in today to hear his story.
KEY TAKEAWAYSChallenges of mining in Macedonia
The logistical challenge, setting up very remote exploration camps with minimal infrastructure.
Dealing with lots of different social issues related.
Military controls in those places and unpleasant checks.
Foreign language barriers.
The political crisis in African countries.
High levels of corruption.
Lack of finance to fund the process of mining.
How to overcome those challenges.
Working as a team in order to achieve your desired goal.
Assistance from the government and the community brought them to an agreement.
The support from the anti-mining NGO’s financially.
You have to consider the socio-economic impact on what you are doing and you also have to look at other businesses in that area that you are doing your mining so as not to create the rivalry.
Employ strategic political risk analysis to get more of a handle on what is happening elsewhere in the country in terms of political crisis.
“Africa is an interesting place to be but not an easy place to fit socially.”
“To succeed in all avenues of work, don’t be afraid of not having a language, it is something we pick up along the way as an expert.”
“The best place to find the mine is next to another mine.”
ABOUT THE HOSTPat Forward who is the Chief Operating Officer of Euromax, a Canadian mining development company who are building and developing a copper and gold mine in Macedonia and exploring other areas in Eastern Europe and along the Western Tethyan Belt.

#006 What it Takes To be An Entrepreneur In The Mining Industry With Lester Kemp

The path to be successful in the mining industry is not the same for everyone. As long as you’re motivated to realize your visions, then it doesn’t matter what path you take.
Our guest for today, Lester Kemp, might stop your doubts and inspire you. Lester Kemp is a mining entrepreneur who manages various mining companies (Arabian Nubian Resources, Gigawatt Metals Limited, etc.) He is also the host of The Bush Geologist on YouTube.
This episode of “Dig Deep” The Mining podcast is for anyone that wants to expand their mind and look at the bigger picture, not necessarily going down the traditional route of working for the large mining companies or consultancies. Lester shares his personal and career experiences from the time he started his first rock collection when he was a child to leading some mining companies. He also describes the different mining cultures in the countries he’s been. If you’re like Lester who enjoys practising his profession and at the same time, exploring the world, start tuning in since he gives great tips to make working overseas worthwhile.
What attracted you to the mining industry? Lester migrated across the world when he was young because of his dad. His dad was an engineer and wherever his dad goes, Lester and his mother follow. One time, in a jewellery store in Brazil, while his dad was buying his mother rings, young Lester snooped around the shop and got enthralled how the jeweller make the rings. That immediately sparked an interest which made him start his rock collection and eventually study geology.
Lester describes how different are the mining cultures of the countries he's been on in South America, Africa, and Europe. Challenges on the site are way more apparent in the third-world countries. Sometimes, you got to do tasks that are outside of your responsibilities. Communicating can be a bit difficult but what excites Lester is the new things he can learn every time.
Lester's advice to who wants to be expats: "Do your research. Speak to friends. Develop a network and ask questions. If you want to do it, do it. Push hard for it. It might be quite daunting going away from home for a while. You'll miss friends and family, but you'll be looked after, you'll enjoy yourself, and you'll wish you would've done it before."
Lester also gives advice to people who want to be an entrepreneur in the ...

#005 Polyhalite and its Future in the Mining & the Fertiliser Industry With Andrew Fulton

Up to now, ICL is still the first and only producers of polyhalite. Polyhalite deserves the attention that it’s getting since it’s about to disrupt the fertilizer industry.
Today in “Dig Deep” The Mining Podcast, I chat with Andrew Fulton, the Vice President and General Manager of ICL Group, about his career and the working culture in UK & South Africa. He also emphasizes that mining professionals should see the importance of scientific knowledge and its practical applications to become more valuable in the industry.
Listen in as Andrew explains his journey from graduating and getting his first graduate role, then developing his experience on site before returning to the UK to then head up Cleveland Potash. With the deepest mine in the UK, Andrew is driving the operation forward. He explains how the company turned its fortunes around and how focusing on this commodity increased the production of polyhalite to secure the future of the mine and that of the local community who work there.
The difference of working in the UK and South Africa, according to Andrew:
"UK is a stable and secure environment to operate in. South Africa in 1990s is far from that. It is immersed in the apartheid period, sanctions, and constraints."

For new graduates in the UK, it's understandable that they go overseas to practice their craft since it's hard to have a field mine experience here in the UK.
Both the practical and technical side of mining is important. But, if you worry that you exceed far greater on one than the other one, Andrew assures you that it's okay. The mining industry needs both so you'll find a sector where you'll be valuable.
ICL is the leading fertilizer manufacturer and has sites across the world. One of the sites is located in Israel which is one of the low-cost producers of fertilizers. it the first in the world to mine polyhalite.
" "I know it's hard. but if they keep looking...if you've got enough to prove you can do and you shine, well, those opportunities make themselves available to you."
"It'll always be a balance. I can't recommend to individual graduates which is the best path for them. That's gonna be something that they will determine."
"It's an exciting place to be. As an individual, I always leave the site believing I learned something new and I develop every day."
UK Coal
Israel Chemical Ltd. (ICL) Group
Cleveland Potash
Rob Tyson ...

#004 How To Become A Leader In The Mining Industry With Nick Clarke

Technical skills alone are not enough to prove you’re the best in the mining industry. Have you tried tapping into your leadership potential? This could set you apart from the other, especially if you want to climb up the corporate ladder.
In this episode of “Dig Deep” The Mining Podcast, I talk to Nick Clarke, the Chief Executive Officer of Central Asia Metals, PLC. From mining engineering to management, Nick’s got the best of both worlds. Nick shares his journey in the early years as a mining engineer in South Africa earning his stripes before entering management where he explains how you can be successful in your career. He continues to elaborate on how to make a mine operation work and be profitable which he has successfully done a few times. He also talks about the fundamentals of operating a mine and what to look out for and not blame the external environments why you can’t succeed.
Nick shares how he made the transition from mining engineering to management. Nick spent a few years in South Africa during the 1970s. Though it was difficult to learn the trade since he was new and away from home, he was determined to do so.
Nick was attracted with the opportunity to travel that's why he pursued mining engineering. During his time, there were a lot of opportunities for emerging professionals overseas. But today, young graduates are having a hard time getting a job posting.
Nick was named CEO of the year by the Mining Journal back in 2013. Nick says it meant a lot for him to receive the award since his shift, though fulfilling, was tough. He went from running a small group of people in the mine to running the whole team of the company. He learned the trade and was eager to be worthy in his new role.
Metals go in cycles. Metal prices don't continually increase. Do your sums and work it out so if the prices get too low, you can still stay in business.
Nick's advice for mining companies: "Don't go overleverage. Keep your loans manageable. Stay with a bite size. Stay comfortable... where if it doesn't go right, it's not gonna kill the company."
" Your college degree doesn't give you an automatic right to anything. Put your back into and do some hard yards. Learn the craft."
"You always get challenges. You get people that are not fit for the ...

#003 Finding Finance In Mining With Jeremy Wrathall

From mining to finance to mining again, our guest for today’s episode of “Dig Deep” The Mining Podcast, Jeremy Wrathall, is ready to share his experiences in both industries.
Discover how Jeremy is helping the county of Cornwell be on the top of the British mining game again. Through his company Cornish Lithium, Jeremy is looking into collecting lithium in and around Cornwell. Jeremy says that lithium will have a huge impact, not just on the mining industry, but all other industries that benefit from it since it’s one of the main components of batteries.
His technical experiences in mining and finance surely is a winning combo to start the exploration of lithium in Cornwell. Learn what are the similarities and differences between the two fields and how you could harness both to land on greater opportunities in the mining industry. If you’re one of the mining professionals who also want to make the shift or simply improve your skillset with finance/banking background, then listen to Jeremy as he reveals his tips and strategies on this podcast.
What are the differences between the mining and the banking industry? There are multiple differences, especially in the technical aspects, but there are also strong similarities. In the latter part of the mining industry, we focus on the finances, eval projects, or feasibility studies. Mining also involves operations and raising finance when building companies.
The differences and similarities in the cultures of the mining and baking industries. In the finance industry, there's a lot of stuff that you need to be updated on. You have to keep an eye and be analytic on the current political news, stocks, currency rates, etc. In the mining industry, you just have to focus on the operations itself.
"If I was gonna try and do what I've done with Cornish Lithium without my background, no one would've taken me seriously." The combination of his knowledge of mining, geology, and finance has helped a lot in approaching investors and starting projects.
Jeremy also gives advice for people who are looking into shifting from the mining industry to the finance industry also. He encourages to take a conversion course (i.e. a Master's Degree in Business) since it will be difficult to conventionally acquire those technical finance skillsets. Remember to be dedicated once you start the journey.
Why lithium? It was 2016 when Jeremy got interested in electric cars. The advancement in electric cars will have ...

#002 Get Your Dream Job Insights from Mining Recruitment Expert Dennis Thomas

If you’re a newbie or an emerging professional who wants to position himself in the mining industry, then the guest for today’s episode of “Dig Deep” - The Mining Podcast Dennis Thomas, the Chief Executive Officer for Phoenix Global Mining can surely help you!
Rob chats with Dennis about his experiences in the mining and recruitment industry. He has had directorial jobs for mining companies in the UK and other foreign countries throughout the years. He has visited sites and had hands-on experiences. This is in addition to what he’s been doing in his recruitment business: scouting the best mining team and advising the mining executives in improving their operations.
Aside from these, Dennis also gives pieces of advice to the incoming professionals and shares his insights on the future of the industry. Make sure to listen in to decide on what steps you should take for your career.
From mining to recruitment. Dennis’ fascination with rocks when he was a child led him to pursue mining engineering. He practised his profession in different countries including Uganda, South Africa, Russia, and Nigeria. It was when he got back to the UK for good that he was given a directorial job that involves recruitment and consulting.
How's the mining industry in terms of recruitment? According to Rob, it's different and difficult recruiting in the mining industry. there's a lot of factors to consider - salary, living conditions, security, roster, etc.
Lessons that he's learned along the way. Remember to be patient with people in the recruitment business. Treat people with a certain degree of empathy and always try to help them.
What's mining's future like in the next 3-5 years?
One of the developments in the world is the move to green energy - electrical vehicles, wind farms, etc.
In the midst of a trade war, there's also a shortage of copper and other significant minerals that need to be addressed.
From a recruiter's perspective, there's a lot of juniors out there entering the industry.

Dennis: "We've got to represent ourselves a lot better than we are."
One of the things that need improving in the industry is how to show valuable mining is to the world. People are unaware of that so promotion and advertising are needed.

"I think the thing about the mining industry is it's full of characters... some good ones, some bad ones... most, I would say, mining people are of the highest ethical standards. that's something ...

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