By Ree Dai, Managing Director
The story of Australia’s resources sector is one generally trumpeted by heralds of success. Much of Australia’s modern economic progress is intrinsically tied to its reputation as a country with a broad-based mining and exporting footprint. The growth in prominence and performance of this sector has aligned with the country’s recent, sustained positive economic outcomes. Its powerful lobbying sector and role as a major employer has seen the industry develop meaningful ties across all levels of government, improving communication and better accommodating an environment that promotes growth, investment and positions Australia as a reliable channel for yields and a stable avenue for holdings.
Mining in Australia is not a particularly hard sell to investors. Progress and professionalisation within the industry, commencing across the latter half of the 20th century and continuously evolving parallel with its ongoing growth, has seen it shed its ‘cowboy’ image and take a more prominent role as a key driver of economic performance, diversified employment vector and high-value asset. Improvement across all key metrics – talent, technology, process, supply chain management and safety, now sees the industry in a position to regularly attract and retain investment for both established outfits as well as new entries.
When seeking to establish Terra Mining into this market – attraction, and retention of investment capital to support commercialisation was never prominent as a critical risk. The fundamentals of mining and minerals are well understood by capital markets – of more prominent concern is what long-term upside and potential exists for ground level entry into an asset. Our decision to pursue integration as our long-term strategy had a surprisingly different outcome to that which we were expecting; while readily approved of by investors – it has been our human resources whose positive response has been most tangible.
Our focus from the outset has revolved around attracting personnel to form a solid platform to support our long-term vision to transition from contractor to integrated outfit. While the two don’t align neatly operationally – the skills needed to commercialise are discernible different from those needed to integrate either horizontally or vertically, integration of any sort is not possible without core contracting operations providing a stable base from which diversification can be launched. No matter the resources, it won’t help unless the right talent is on seat and committed to helping achieve the long-term vision by ensuring the start-up is a success so that integration remains a viable strategy for the business.
While investors may have an astute understanding of the risk associated with new market entries – this doesn’t transfer as neatly to personnel. From executives to operators – security is a natural default for those who have become accustomed to the high remuneration and flexible options associated with the industry.
In a full-circle moment – this is where we’ve lent heavily on our vision for integration as a crucial element when articulating our value-benefit to key personnel. Our desire to pursue integration as a natural progression for the organisation has provided context to our initial operational strategy, encouraging staff at all levels to pursue efficiencies and contribute to the development of best in breed infrastructure. Knowing where we are going has been key to motivating our team to help us take the first steps on our long journey there. At all levels of the business there has been a shared understanding that the processes, systems and culture we have developed at our inception are shaped to support our future planning. The malleability of their infancy must give way as time progresses to integral, sustained structures that are robust enough to allow our business to move as required into new opportunities.
Communicating this to our workforce, and securing support for it from the ground up, has been the most humbling achievement of our nascent operations. Our teams buy-in to a vision that sees us pursue integration will yield opportunity for those who, like our key partners, have embraced the potential for expansion beyond traditional siloed operations – a position that allows us to plan with confidence.
While we proudly proclaim that we are ‘A new force in contracting’, our exciting future extends beyond this. Our planning, structure and forward discussions aren’t happening in a board-level vacuum – they’re occurring onsite, in offices, with our partners, in airport lounges and at every level of our business.
Our vision for integration, originally geared to align with our investor relation strategy, today permeates our culture – allowing us to attract the right people we will need to achieve it.
Ree Dai, Managing Director
Privately owned and backed with decades of managerial experience for resources projects in unique Australian conditions, Terra Mining has established itself as a trusted operator whose capability to deliver complex mining projects with diverse requirements in challenging environs distinguishes us in the market. For more information, visit terramining.com.au or call +618 9744 8899.