Courtesy of Ian Pearce

As I step into the role of CIM President, a profound sense of excitement for the future fills me. I am deeply convinced that looking back 30 years from now, we will see an industry as transformed as today’s is when compared to the early days of my career in the 1970s and 1980s.

I vividly remember starting my career in an era when auto­mation and control were unheard of. It was a time when the spreadsheet program Lotus 123 was a revolutionary platform. Mainframe computers occupied huge floor space, and desktop computing was just emerging. Mills were loaded based on the sound they made, using the human ear. Calculating tonnes to the mill involved stopping the feed conveyor, taking a belt cut, weighing it and then using a table to convert it to tonnes per hour. Grindability was measured by feeling the grittiness with your fingers in the cyclone overflow. If it was too gritty, we added water to the cyclone feed; if there was no fine grit, we cut back on the water we added.

Safety practices have also come a long way since then. In the past, we would celebrate a million shifts without a loss of life. But in today’s safety culture, the absence of a fatality is too crude a measure for modern mining operations. The speed at which technology is advancing in our field is truly breathtaking. Today’s computing power enables us to pioneer new, more sustainable methods of extracting and processing essential resources. These innovations not only enhance efficiency but also redefine our approach to mining and metallurgy, ensuring a more environmentally conscious industry.

So much has changed, and I expect that such change will only accelerate. It will be a benefit to our industry, our society and our planet.

Government (civil society), academia (from trade schools to universities) and industry need to collaborate to find ways to provide vital resources to society. Each entity needs to seek ways to co-deliver value in a collaborative manner. By working seamlessly as one cohesive unit, we can better address industry challenges and capitalize on opportunities for growth and development.

I firmly believe that CIM, its societies and branches must function as a fully integrated organism. Together, we form a powerful foundation for that collaboration. Our institute can stimulate new recruits to our sector and can encourage much-needed capital to return.

Looking ahead, I am eager to delve deeper into these topics, exploring how we at CIM can foster leadership, collaboration and diversity within our industry. Together, we can pave the way for a brighter, more sustainable future for mining and metallurgy, ensuring our continued success for generations to come. The journey ahead is sure to be challenging, but with our collective dedication and drive, we can overcome any obstacle and achieve remarkable advancements in our field.