Our Natural Resources Practice recently hosted a Summit Meeting in London that culminated in a dinner with guest speakers Jim Gowans, Co-President of Barrick Gold and Steve Mueller, President and CEO Southwestern Energy. With natural resource extraction undergoing a fundamental transformation, the evening discussion, introduced by Nick Stagg, CEO of Alexander Proudfoot and chaired by Algy Cluff, former Chairman and Chief Executive of Cluff Gold plc, considered the global challenges impacting those involved in metals and mining and the incremental opportunities for those operating across the sector. No less transformative and perhaps more world-shattering, Steve Mueller touched on the new industry paradigm that has seen the US shift from being a net energy importer to the world’s largest natural gas producer.
Amongst the audience attending were the heads of global natural resource companies based in London as well as members of our Natural Resources Advisory Group including Rob Still, Chairman of Pangea Exploration and Zimbabwe Platinum Mines Ltd, Wilson Nelio Brumer, former CEO and Chairman of the Board of Directors of USIMINAS, Gordon Peeling, former President and Chief Executive of the Mining Association of Canada, Warren Holmes, previous interim CEO of Hudbay Minerals Inc, Sir Sam Jonah, current Chairman of Gulf Industrials Ltd and Range Resources, Roberto Giannetti da Fonseca, Alfredo Ovalle, Advisory Chair and National Advisor to Chile’s National Society of Mining and Rolf Stomberg, former CEO of Shipping, Refining and Marketing at BP Plc.
The dinner was extremely well attended. Alongside the top executives from natural resource companies were a number of leading industry journalists and sector analysts who all played an active role in the post-dinner debate. Alan Steelman, who heads the Alexander Proudfoot Advisory Board observed, “Guests commented on the value of the insight provided by the guest speakers as well as the ensuing debate that followed.”
Earlier in the day, leaders from Alexander Proudfoot’s Natural Resource Practice around the world debated the key trends impacting the extractive sector and most notably the need for safe production, increased productivity, stronger skills development and skills transfer as well as improved community relations and increased shareholder value –and all set against the backdrop of lower commodity prices and geopolitical uncertainty. In recognition of the importance of truly safe production, Jon Wylie, Head of the Natural Resources Practice took the opportunity to launch to the team the newly developed service line on safe operations, saying, “Many companies across the sector have done an amazing job in driving safe operations but issues remain. Key to success is about changing the way that people approach their jobs in order to improve the level of safety and productivity within an organization. While most companies care about the safety of their workers, the question of how to successfully change a company’s culture to ensure safe practices still remains. Executives know that safety must be embedded into the DNA of their organizations; our eight step program enables them to do just that.”