Alex’s purpose is to promote value-creative cultures & prevent value-destructive events in mining.
Alex holds 2 BEng Degrees from the University of Queensland and WA School of Mines qualifying her as a Mining Engineer, Geotechnical Engineer & Geologist. She holds First Class Mine Manager’s Certificates for WA & Queensland, has an MBA(Finance), is a graduate of AICD and Chartered Professional Fellow of The AusIMM.
Alex has 25+ years’ multi-commodity experience through the full mining value chain in roles that find, design & run mines, regulate mines & in the Big4’s auditing mining companies.
Alex is a Non-executive Director of Ausdrill Ltd (ASX:ASL), Founder of her own consultancy & Director of IntWIM and Global Mining Sustainability (GMSu). In 2018 Alex was named one of the 100 Global Inspirational Women in Mining by WIM UK in London and in 2019 she was inducted into the WA Women’s Hall of Fame. She is also the devoted mother of two beautiful teenagers.
Which company are you currently with?
Alex Atkins & Associates; Ausdrill; IntWIM
What is your area of value in the field of mining sustainability?
My purpose is to promote value-creative cultures and prevent value destructive events in mining. As an underground mining engineer, geotechnical engineer, geologist with an MBA(Finance), a graduate of the Australian Inst of Company Directors Course and 25+ years mining experience, I understand mining risk from a technical and operational perspective. This is very important knowledge that I now apply in mining governance. I hope that I can influence the future ESG framework so that it is value adding (a win:win) and makes mining better.
How is your practice of sustainability value perceived today?
I am giving a paper on the gaps in ESG at an International Mining Geomechanics Conference in April 2019, based on how mining deep domain experts should provide assurance on technical and operational risk. The paper is here: https://papers.acg.uwa.edu.au/p/1905_03_Atkins/
What are your greatest challenges to practice mining sustainability?
I’m trying to influence two groups: (1) established ESG practitioners & (2) mining industry practitioners – a kind of bridge between the two. My challenge is to get doors to open to Ethical Investor Groups and Proxy Advisors to educate them on the missing link in mining ESG (see my paper) so we can ensure future ESG is focussed on the right things (preventing mining disasters, safety, environment and communities).
What are your greatest successes in promoting mining sustainability?
Influencing mining practitioners to understand why we need ESG. Connecting the dots by joining forces with groups like IntWIM and GMSu to generate momentum and greater global shared understanding of what we must do to make mining better.
What is your vision of how mining can change?
Digital Transformation of Mining will make a massive difference if the change is managed well. Also Proxy Advisors and Ethical Investor Groups are increasingly creating the “Industry Pull” needed to take ESG seriously if miners want to retain their social licence to operate. These groups are acutely tuned to women’s voices (i.e. through super & pension funds) collectively saying, we want to invest in companies that do the right thing by all stakeholders, not just shareholders. Also they don’t want the company to destroy value such as through mining disasters or through poorly judged investment decisions, the consequences of which impact the share price and thus shareholder retirement funds.
How do you use innovation to apply your value and how can it be improved?
I am involved in the digital transformation of mining. I feel strongly that mining deep domain expertise should be involved in the solution. Too many industry outsiders are trying to disrupt the industry which may lead to new risks and unintended conseqeunces. Done well, the digital mine will be safer, cleaner, more environmentally friendly, more transparent, efficient and inclusive of women and people with a disability (via city based remote operations centres). I use technology to work remotely most of the time – using DropBox, BaseCamp, Diligent Boards, Skype, WhatsApp, Google Meet, Email etc.
Choose the areas which are most important to you
- Crisis Management and Communications Planning
- Remediation and Mine Closure
- Gender Equality and Diversity
- Safety and Health