Damien Richard, our General Manager, ANZ, shares his view on Latin American Mining and the challenges in this growing sector.
“As I recently attended the Latin America Down Under conference, I thought it a good time to reflect on the challenges facing the mining industry and on our involvement with Latin American mining projects.
Polyglot Group has been extensively involved with the recruitment of mining professionals across Latin America (Brazil, Peru, Chile, Mexico, Dominican Republic etc.) for more than 4 years and we foresee our activity to keep increasing as we recently opened an office in Argentina. After specialising for more than 9 years in bilingual recruitment for the mining industry in Africa and Asia we felt that there was a genuine need for mining companies to have a partner who understood the Latin American market and could help with languages and cross-cultural issues (we have dedicated consultants speaking French, Spanish or Portuguese, among other languages).
This conference was once again very interesting even though the industry continues to face a very tough environment when it comes to capital raising, particularly for junior explorers. The Latin American mining sector has plenty to offer to international mining groups investing in exploration and mining projects, starting with untapped resources, growing quality infrastructures, supportive governments and a qualified local workforce.
When it comes to operating projects in Latin America, from our experience of the past few years, the main challenges that face international mining groups are cultural/language differences and availability of technical experts in some very specific areas. Employing bilingual and culturally aware mining professionals, both at the corporate and site level, is critical to ensure the success of projects.
Canadian or Australian companies, as an example, quite often operate with cutting-edge standards that are new to some countries. Change management and training, must be implemented progressively in a collaborative manner, with a high level of consideration for cultural differences. Some of the requirements of our partners have been to identify international technical experts with a knowledge of the local culture and language (Spanish, Portuguese…) to share their knowledge and expertise in a sensible manner. However, we are more and more requested to search and select local talents who have had international work experience and have been exposed to different sets of standards. When it is not possible to find, companies don’t hesitate to fly their local talents around the world to observe and learn best practices.
In those days of low commodity prices, companies that will be investing in people and developing their employees’ skills and potential will without a doubt outperform their competitors by increasing their productivity and setting the ground for long-term profitability.
If you are looking for a new opportunity in Latin America or want more information on how Polyglot can help you build your future talent pool, feel free to contact Damien.