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Meeting increased Social Licence (ESG) and digitisation demands require new thinking

The industry agrees that social licence and digital transformation are vital, but implementing a successful strategy encompassing both areas is not necessarily obvious. A popular recommendation is for time-poor mining executives to renew efforts to satisfy all stakeholders, while at the same time holistically transforming their enterprises end-to-end to cope with the demands of automation and digitisation, as well as simultaneously attracting and retaining highly skilled employees.

But what if this is not doable within our current management paradigm? Could this explain the limited results achieved to date? Have we reached a plateau in our ability to improve the way we manage these trade-offs? It may be time to reconsider the environment we find ourselves in, and how we approach these issues.

Mining has become a complex adaptive system and is at a crossroads. The unexpected emergence of new things and relationships means ‘the whole is greater than the sum of its parts’. In the Ecology Age, confusing dilemmas, ambiguous paradoxes and diverse conflicts are natural occurrences.

The Ecology Age requires new ways of thinking and doing compared to what worked in the Industrial and Information Ages. We cannot solve the wicked problems of social licence and digitisation using Industrial and Information Age thinking only. This article looks at promising ideas for upgrading our organisations to deal with these challenges.

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