Speaker spotlight: Peter Harvey
In the lead up to our fifth Life of Mine 2021 Conference on 28-30 April, we interviewed keynote speaker Peter Harvey, Global Head of Closure, Rio Tinto to offer insights in his presentation and key issues relating to the industry.
Q. What message would you like to highlight to the delegates at this upcoming Conference? What do you hope will be the main take away from your keynote presentation?
A. Optimism. Although there are significant complexities in asset closure we have the tools to develop multidisciplinary solutions and shape positive outcomes. Barriers, such as short-term decision-making, can be overcome through innovation and entrepreneurial approaches.
Q. Throughout your extensive career, what challenges stood out to you with regards to achieving better environmental performance and do these challenges still occur today?
A. Investment. One of the significant challenges is convincing asset owners to invest in improvements that deliver in the medium and long-term rather than preserving the year’s free cash flow. This continues as an issue due to the lack of alternative financial project evaluation tools in the mining sector.
Q. From your experience, what are the key processes and procedures to utilise innovative ways to enhance sustainable outcomes?
A. Confidence. We have enough process and procedures and they are part of the problem. We need to have confidence to challenge the status quo, invent, fail fast and replicate. Achieving the changes we need to move the sector’s sustainability impact will require a mind-set shift.
Q. It is an exciting time to be in the resource sector as innovation is moving rapidly, what advice do you have to our young professionals looking to attend the conference?
A. Speak-up. As a sector we need a culture of inclusion and openness. We need fresh ideas and as you enter the mining community, we need your voice to challenge and help us move forward.
Q. What new technologies can we expect to see in the coming years? Does automation play a huge part in the future of sustainable mine outcomes?
A. Mine closure will look very different in 2040 – whether it be through microbiome, nano-sensors, carbon capture, automation in landscape design or reprocessing. To realise any of these we need to start investing in R&D now.
Q. Why do you think it is important for life of mine professionals to continue their professional development?
A. Our challenges in closure are multi-disciplinary and we need different insights to help build optimal solutions. However, it is easy to become inward looking and insular. Professional development is a great way to gain different insights and broaden networks.