New mining model needed, says 'most inspiring' accountant Coenie Middel

“In every industry, ground-breaking leaps into the future are being reported on an almost daily basis. All except for one – mining. Could it be that our current world view limits the way we think about mining companies? Could we invent a more powerful, more soulful, more meaningful way to mining? I think we can,” says expert accountant Coenie Middel.

  • How to become the world's most inspiring accountant: a chat to Coenie Middel.
  • Want to be inspired? The don't miss Coenie's presentation at the much anticipated Finance Indaba Africa. We still have some limited FREE tickets for finance professionals and accountants: go HERE and use invitation code SM2016.

Just recently, Elon Musk released his "Master Plan" for Tesla. In it, Musk revealed that he is focused on creating a sustainable future for our planet, and that he will likely reshape the fundamental nature of our society in the process. Indigo, an agriculture start-up the world was first introduced to in February, just released news of new probiotic seeds that grow crops which require less water to survive. Earlier this month, Google switched on Faster - a 9000km undersea internet cable connecting the USA to Japan, delivering internet speeds that are approximately 10 million times faster than your standard home broadband connection. While telecommunications, healthcare, education, and even the non-profit sector enjoy headlines filled with inspiration, evolution and growth, the mining industry remains in a state of continued turmoil. And following the slowdown in demand growth over the past four years and consequent fall in prices and mining profits, the industry is in fact devolving.

By Coenie Middel

Having spent over 20 years in consulting and seeing mining giants go through endless rounds of change programmes, cost reductions, changes in mining methods, productivity improvement strategies, feasibility studies, new IT systems, new mission statements, new scorecards or new incentive systems, I can without a doubt say that these traditional recipes we believe will bring about change are often part of the problem, not the solution. Traditional thinking didn't result in the world's first electric car or seedlings that yield 10% more cotton with less water.

But is a new mining company model genuinely possible or merely wishful thinking?

And it's not just our thinking that needs to change. Outdated hierarchical pyramids place too much focus on who has power, while unfulfilled pursuits of ego have resulted in the mining industry losing its value. Something investors have noticed and the reason why they are now looking elsewhere.

If we are to overcome the daunting problems of our times, we will need new types of mining companies - more purposeful businesses. If you are one of a few players, if you feel called to create a radically more soulful, purposeful and productive mining company, then I would like to share more ideas with you on how to bring this about. Change, no doubt, will be met with some resistance. However, as Anthropologist Margaret Mead once said, "Never underestimate the power of a few committed people to change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has."

I have no doubt that the world is ready and waiting for new innovative mining.

To read more from Coenie Middel, see his website, middel.co.za.