The mine of the future: thoughts from the next generation

A perception study of UK and South African students about the mining industry.

The mines and miners of tomorrow will look and operate very differently to the industry as we know it today. Technology is bringing undreamed of innovation and possibility to the field while society’s expectations of miners are changing too. While mineralisation, logistics, capital, skills, technology, and regulation are all essential ingredients for any mine; it is the people who will manage, plan, mine and refine the ore that makes the industry possible.

So understanding the values, frustrations, aspirations and expectations of young people is vital if mining is to attract top talent to keep the industry innovating. It also needs to understand the values and interests of a wide range of future leaders if it is to enjoy legitimacy and societies’ support.

This paper sets out the findings of a short programme of qualitative research, designed to explore perceptions of the mining industry amongst students in the UK and South Africa. The aim of the research was to understand how students view the mining industry, both in terms of overall perceptions, and also in terms of its ‘employer brand’.

We wanted to explore the positive and negative associations with the industry, and the factors that make it attractive or unattractive to potential candidates. More broadly, we wanted to understand the factors that drive career choice, and to gain insight on what the industry should do to better communicate to these important stakeholders who are the future of mining.

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