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Geoscientist Online

Modern Management in the Global Mining Industry

modern miningThis book seeks to assist mining industry decision-makers with the practical aspects of mineral economics. The focus is on tackling some of the management myths that lead to poor economic decisions in the industry, the principal amongst these myths being “that the only viable business strategy… is to build or acquire low cost operations…”

The author draws upon 40 years of experience at the London-based independent mineral economics consultancy CRU Group. The book is a posthumous release, with Adams having passed away in 2014, devoting his last few months to writing this book. It was subsequently finalised by his wife, Judith, and long-time colleagues Christopher Gilbert and Christopher Stobart.

Though technical, this is not a ‘textbook’ per se. The book does not teach you the theory of mineral economics, nor take you through example calculations. Instead, it aims to help you think more critically about mineral economics and thus make smarter business decisions when using such data and sources.

To emphasis the industry focus it is worth summarising the contents, which include price forecasting and risk management, commodities marketing and exchanges, shareholder value, mining costs, performance improvement, capital productivity, risk and cost, industry cyclicity, and resource depletion, recycling and the environment. Subjects such as commodities marketing and the role of commodities exchanges are less frequently discussed in the broader realm of mineral economics yet are vital to mining industry decision-making and strategy. Another area of particular value is the discussion of operating costs and capital productivity in mining – an area where the author was a world-leader. All mining industry managers should make themselves familiar with the value-based costing approach described in the book.

Despite its industry focus, the text has a thoroughly modern take on the minerals industry, accepting it is an industry of broad controversy. In this spirit, Adams states that the modern mining manager needs to be a ‘Renaissance' figure conversant in geology, metallurgy, engineering, economics, finance, sociology, anthropology, politics, communication and so on. Whilst the focus of the book is economics, there are excellent and well-balanced discussions of mining, the environment and society. Indeed, his final chapter on ‘Unfinished Business’ includes some quite radical proposals for future mining industry practice.

All in all, Adams’ book would be a valuable addition to the personal libraries of all minerals professionals, the corporate libraries of minerals companies, and the libraries of universities charged with teaching future leaders in the sector – mining and exploration geologists included.

By John Sykes

MODERN MANAGEMENT IN THE GLOBAL MINING INDUSTRY by ROBIN G. ADAMS assisted by CHRISTOPHER L. GILBERT & CHRISTOPHER G. STOBART, 2019. Published by: Emerald Publishing 292pp (hbk) ISBN: 9781789737882 List Price: us$48.00. W: https://books.emeraldinsight.com/page/detail/Modern-Management-in-the-Global-Mining-Industry/?k=9781789737882.