Regional Senior Vice President Alex Bates in his own words, in the conclusion of a four-part series.
I grew up in a mining family and have been in the industry for over 25 years. I’ve come to realize that no matter where you go, people are everything. And here in Australia, we have 5,000 really smart people who know their work and are helping Newmont create long-term value and improving lives. Nothing we do can happen without their talent or without them doing what they do best every single day.
It may sound a bit trite, but I think any day not spent learning something is a wasted day. I’m constantly learning from the team at Newmont who are mining gold safely, profitably and sustainably.
Early in my career, I managed a large copper smelter. Later, as a general manager, I oversaw the first fully autonomous mining operation. Throughout those experiences, I found that people respond well to honesty and genuineness. If you believe what you say, that comes across.
I also learned a fundamental truth of leadership: you need to lead people to somewhere. Management and leadership are often confused. The first one is the daily churn – just getting through the day. The second one means you know where you want to go, you’re genuinely committed to getting there and you’re taking your team along. It means being yourself, being honest, being passionate.
“We’re on a journey toward long-term value.”
I think shared commitments to Safety, Integrity, Sustainability, Inclusion and Responsibility – Newmont’s core values – are helping us get there as a team. With each of those values, we’re on a journey toward long-term value. They’re not mutually exclusive journeys, either.
If you’re committed to integrity, you do the right thing. Doing the right things means you’ll attract a more diverse and inclusive workforce. If you’re also committed to safety, you make that working environment as physically safe as possible, yes, but also as mentally safe as possible – and welcoming to LGBTQI employees, for example.
When you have the right values in place, it’s easy to get excited about progress. And technology is something we’re really excited about at Newmont. In Australia, we’re working to understand how to best leverage innovation – whether it’s monitoring the health of our trucks or predicting mechanical failures that lead to downtime.
At Boddington, for example, the team has done some outstanding work over the last few years using technology to help reduce costs and add nearly 3 million ounces to our reserves. What were once uneconomic ounces are now economic. Across all of our Newmont operations, technology really is the next big piece.
When you pair exciting technological developments with a values-based culture, good things happen. When a diverse workforce feels engaged – and can pursue growth and excellence through innovation – that generates value in a number of ways. And that’s somewhere I’m excited to lead people towards.