"Digitalization is here to stay, so organizations just need to adapt or risk disappearing. Overall, this is going to create a much safer, more productive and more transparent industry."
What are the main themes of the 2018 Gold and Silver Symposium?
The main goal of the Symposium is to discuss the current status, potential and relevance of the gold and silver mining industries in Peru. This year, on top of the usual market projections and pricing forecasts, the event is putting special emphasis on innovation. Due to the crisis, mining companies had to be creative and increase efficiency and competitiveness, and in this respect new digital technologies and the use of big data and artificial intelligence are bringing drastic changes to the way the industry operates. For this reason, we are going to have some high-level speakers, including our keynote speaker, Anders Sörman-Nilsson, who will provide a comprehensive overview on how the world and industries are going from analog to digital, and how that is prompting the need for more changes within the organizations.
How can mining organizations adapt to this change?
Digitalization means disruptive change and, for it to provide good results, you need strong leadership and a new culture across all levels of the organization, not just within the IT department. People are resistant to change, but with a strong tone from the top, clear definition of the company’s vision and objectives, and a good flow of information and purpose to all the employees, positive change will be achieved. Digitalization is here to stay, so organizations just need to adapt or risk disappearing. Overall, this is going to create a much safer, more productive and more transparent industry.
The world continues to be an unstable place. What are the fundamentals of precious metals as a safe investment?
Our world presents many challenges and geopolitical events that generate instability and fears. In this context, gold and silver are always seen as a safe haven for investors. Gold is sensitive to events such as the Federal Reserve increasing interest rates, inflation risk or a potential U.S. – China trade war. Besides, with the risk of new mine global gold supply decreasing, the dynamics of the demand and the supply could change as well. Finally, while there are new assets out there that are competing for investment, such as the crypto-currencies, gold should always remain the leading safe-haven investment.
Could you name some of the speakers that will be discussing gold and silver projections at the Symposium?
We will have the participation of high-level speakers like Roque Benavides, chairman of Buenaventura; Nick Holland, CEO of Gold Fields; Kelvin Dushnisky, president of Barrick Gold; Eva Arias, chairman of Poderosa; and Yumin Chen, chairman of Shandong Gold Group, one of China’s largest gold producers. We will also have the participation of the CEO of Pan American Silver, Michael Steinmann; Victor Gobitz, CEO of Buenaventura; Phil Dalke, managing director of Tahoe Peru; and Jorge Ganoza, president and CEO of Fortuna Silver Mines, among others.
It is increasingly difficult to find new primary gold and silver deposits. How attractive is Peru for mining exploration and development in precious metals?
Peru has an enormous geological potential, as shown by the fact that it is the first gold producer in Latin America and sixth in the world, and the second silver producer, both in Latin America and worldwide. In the last survey of the Fraser Institute, Peru ranked 19th for mining attractiveness and 14th for geological potential. According to the Ministry of Energy of Mines, Peru has a US$51 billion project portfolio, and 15% of that is in gold and silver. Meanwhile, with improved mineral prices, the expenditures in exploration are increasing significantly in the country.
What are the main challenges that Peru’s mining industry faces?
Peru presents some challenges that the government has been targeting. It is public knowledge that we have social conflict issues and, in past years, the sectorial regulation and permitting increased considerably, however the government is aware and has been working on a simplification of the regime to increase the sector’s competitiveness without jeopardizing environmental and safety protection. Illegal mining is another challenge that needs to be addressed to ensure a modern, responsible development of our natural resources is accomplished. For this, you cannot focus on the symptoms, you need to target the root causes of the problem, such as poverty, lack of economic opportunities and the absence of the State in certain areas.