Managing Director of Marsh Botswana, Fritzgerald Dube, said the mining industry is faced with exposures that need to be identified, measured and controlled economically in order for the mine’s operations to flourish. Speaking at a mining seminar hosted by Marsh Botswana last week, Dube explained that while the environment in which they operate in is always changing and presenting new threats, they are able to understand risk trends and develop effective programmes. Although a lot of mines have fully fledged risk management departments, Dube noted that mining is a dynamic and ever evolving specialty and that new risk that were not previously anticipated would always evolve.
“As such, risk managers need to be forever considering and devising risk management plans for those risks which they have never been exposed to before,” he advised. Dube added that risk managers need to recognise that they play a critical role in ensuring stability of operations and sustained production in whatever environment that they operate in.
He underscored the importance of risk management, stating that it is a critical function in all mines. He urged top management to commit to instilling a risk management culture throughout the entire organisation.
“Risk management should not be a ‘nice to have’ but rather a ‘must have’ that carries the full weight and support of senior management,” he stressed.
However, Dube regretted that the impact of uncertain events on mine productivity is not limited to loss of property and revenue alone, but possible death as well. An earlier report that was issued by a leading reinsurance advisor, Willis Group Holdings, warned mining companies not to be tempted to cut back on their risk management spending as they try to deal with rising costs, falling commodity prices and decreased productivity levels.
The report titled, Mining Risk Review 2011, identified the main challenges mining companies are facing. They further stated that the bulk of cost cutting had come from reductions in head office spend, exploration and business development.
On the same topic, Botswana Confederation of Commerce and Manpower (BOCCIM) CEO Maria Machailo-Ellis acknowledged that the mining industry had been experiencing fatal accidents around the country. She however noted that they had moved ahead with efforts to prevent recurrence.
Marsh Botswana was established in 1984 and is a subsidiary of Marsh & McLennan Companies, a world leader in delivering risk and insurance services and solutions. Marsh currently provides insurance brokerage and risk advisory services to over 70 percent mines across the globe.