When mining executives from across the globe responded to 2020’s Global Outlook Survey Report, no one had heard of COVID-19. At the time a global pandemic was a hypothetical disaster scenario far from front-of-mind.
How have 12 months of unprecedented disruption and uncertainty changed this outlook? The remarkable core insight of this year’s Outlook is the issues impacting the industry remain much the same as they were pre-coronavirus.
Like other industries, mining operations were forced to scramble to respond to the pandemic, to ensure the safety of employees, the communities in which they operate, and the security of supply chains. But while the ongoing impact of the pandemic will continue, the mining industry appears to be rapidly recalibrating. And our survey suggests mining companies are in a strong position to capitalise on a fresh raft of opportunities.
This report offers deep insights into the views of mining leaders from around the world and the significant risks, challenges, threats, and opportunities ahead for us all.
Commodity price risk remains the top risk the industry faces, while the new addition of global pandemic risk at number two is unsurprising. Economic downturn and uncertainty rounds-out the top three, reflecting the significant volatility the sector has faced in 2020. Interestingly, companies now rank access to key talent as the number nine risk their own organisations face, perhaps reflecting restrictions in travel across the globe.
ESG-related risks remain prominent, with community relations and social licence to operate unchanged from its previous position of number four. Environmental risks, including new regulations, jumped to number five up from seventh spot last year. Overwhelmingly, surveyed companies agreed they now need to have a clear, measurable ESG strategy. Yet around a third of respondents noted investor expectations are still not well understood or consistent across the market.
Concerns about access to capital, political instability, ability to access and replace reserves, and permitting risks all remain prominent on the risk landscape, although each has been marginally downgraded from the previous year. Meanwhile, the emergence of regulatory and compliance changes/burden enters the list in tenth position.