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WRS Mining Division – Overcoming Industry challenges – Lucy Donald, Founder and Director.

Posted by: Sharon Dunleavy
14/04/21

The mining industry is dealing with its fair share of challenges. From scarce resources to uncertainty around commodity prices and now the need to decarbonise, miners are always looking at ways to overcome barriers to stay competitive. In this blog Lucy Donald, Founder and Director of WRS’s Mining Division tells us some of the issues mining businesses are overcoming. We also talk to her about how she manages being a leader at WRS and mum of two.

“The mining industry has always been ready to adapt its operations; with many challenges come many solutions. Depleted resources have increased the need for companies to push new methods of exploration. Remote mines are now using scalable microgrids that can evolve with the lifecycle, improving flexibility and efficiency.

“Finding technically skilled employees has also been difficult for some companies and that is where WRS comes in. We understand the requirements for each placement and find the right candidate, be it an experienced worker with deep industry knowledge or a millennial with a strong understanding of digital technologies. A shortage of skilled workers can put massive pressure on companies, reducing employee productivity and increasing costs of retaining existing talent, so partnering with us definitely helps employers to avoid these complications.

“Traditionally a carbon intensive industry, miners are now looking at ways to reduce their environmental impact more than ever. With recent enhancements in renewable energy, the industry is now seeing the rise of hybrid power solutions for mine site operations. By combining renewables with thermal generation and battery storage, mine sites can now increase efficiency while reducing their carbon footprint and overall costs. Coincidentally, it is the rise in renewable energy which could increase the requirement for such minerals as lithium, cobalt, nickel and manganese (which is used in batteries), copper (for wind turbines and glass), aluminium, silicon and even silver used in solar photo-voltaic cells. Current hybrid plants already operate at lower cost and with a substantially smaller carbon footprint in off-grid settings. It’s perceived that mining and metals companies which are able to use more renewable energy to power their operations will emerge as winners.

“Sustainability and targeting net zero carbon emissions are vital for mining companies today and key to achieving both is digital transformation. Only last month Johnson Matthey, a sustainable technologies company, teamed up with metals miner Sibanye-Stillwaters to speed up the decarbonisation process. The Institute of Materials, Minerals and Mining also welcomed the ambition in the UK Government Industrial Decarbonisation Strategy, published in March, to cut industrial emissions by two-thirds in 15 years, expecting it will create and support up to 80,000 new jobs by 2050. The document sets out the role government will take in supporting and enabling the transition to zero emissions including:

  • taking steps towards creating a market for negative emissions technologies
  • supporting energy efficiency through energy management systems and the adoption of technologies available
  • development of digital technologies to maximise efficiency improvements
  • research into advanced technologies
  • advancement in product innovation
  • unlocking new job opportunities through deployment of low carbon infrastructure in industrial areas.
  • supporting the skills transition so that the current and future workforce benefit from the creation of new jobs.

“As for my career, I’ve been working in this sector for over 12 years now and I absolutely love it. Together, WRS and I have created many opportunities and I have been able to build and expand my team whilst also starting my family - I’m now a mum of two gorgeous children. Historically, it was very difficult, especially for women, to balance work and home life but the pandemic has provided WRS with the confidence that, with the right people, productivity and client deliverables can be increased by offering their employees flexibility with the way they work. We are seeing the mining sector make positive advancements in offering more family friendly solutions which in time will hopefully see more diversity at senior management and c suite level, whilst also offering all employees more of a work/life balance.”

ABOUT WRS

WRS can save you time and money by supporting internal resources, providing you with the best pre-qualified candidates when you need them. We are a workforce solutions company with offices in Europe, the Middle East, APAC and the Americas, supporting the needs of businesses around the world. We employ specialist sector consultants, who can help you to identify the expatriate and local personnel you need to keep your business moving forward.

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