A vision of safety
Address by Mr. Ambar Timblo – Managing Director Fomento Resources for the 39th Mines Safety week – December 2010.
As a member of the host team for the 39th Mines Safety Week, I take this opportunity to welcome the participating mines and their respective management teams and to thank the council for a commendable job in organizing the activities and events. It is encouraging to note that our attendance for this function is increasing year upon year. It reaffirms our collective desire to promote the message of safety, initiated as feeling first and function afterwards. Our annual Mines safety week inculcates that feeling of unit, team, industry and community.
The famous Chinese philosopher Confucius once said: “May you live in interesting times”. I believe we are witnessing a period never seen before in the history of our industry. At a time of significant growth, we are encountering a serious questioning of our practices and manner of conduct, particularly in the area of mining safety.
In today’s age, a local mining accident has the capacity to turn into an issue of global concern, within a matter of seconds. In the year 2010 alone, six mining accidents from West Virginia to New Zealand, registered an average of 300,000 internet hits within two hours of occurrence. The internet coverage sprung communities, both local and global into action and forced lawmen all levels to call for probes into the related mining accidents and address issues of safety in mining.
On the occasion of a new mining safety week, it is time to acknowledge that keeping our workforce safe on site and discussing best safety procedures are no longer enough. It is now time to begin developing practices which safeguard the reputations of our stakeholders and us.
Whilst we continue to deliver value to our traditional stakeholders namely, the communities in whose locations we operate, long term buyers, shareholders, elected government bodies and employees, we must not forget to pay attention to a new breed of stakeholder known simply as the netizen. A netizen is a product of a new global age, an individual or group of individuals who have the desire to inform and be informed of any issue they deem critical. Netizens range from curious internet bystanders to self-proclaimed industry watchdogs. As evidenced by the coverage of recent mining accidents, they have the ability to influence our traditional stakeholders and mobilize opinions before our ground forces arrive to clean up the debris.
How do we as an industry address these new concerns and maintain coalitions with traditional and new stakeholders so that accidents both physical and conceptual are prevented? The answer is to assume leadership of a house divided.
If history has taught us anything it is that leadership brings light where there is darkness. Leaders of the Renaissance brought light to the first dark ages when there was a lack of knowledge and information. The renaissance leaders of today will bring light to an age where there is an overdose of scrambled information and a complete lack of accountable insight.
It is our job as leaders to differentiate the rumour from the truth and the demagogue from the truly inspired. To do so, we must first look within and redefine our business models. They must reflect the prospecting of not just deposits but externalities, extraction of not just ore but of long term solutions and quality control which actually produces sustained development.
In cooperating with traditional and emerging stakeholders, we must shred the antiquated aura of isolationism and learn to work in a manner that is transparent and communicative. In the words of Abraham Maslow, we must step forward into growth or step back into a life of safe complacency.
A true leader is a watchful protector of his stakeholders, a silent guardian of his community, not just a leader of markets but a leader of men. He/she leads by finding common ground amongst his peers, for like them he inhabits the same small planet, breathes the same air, cherishes his children’s future and knows that he is also mortal.
I encourage all our participants to be safe while not playing it safe.