Disrupting Mining's External Communications Strategies: A MANIFESTO

Mining is the last great industry on the planet to not approach and adopt modern communications and marketing strategies. But please don't fret, there is still time. After all, any great strategy requires planning, implementation and patience. With a little bit of devotion and creative thinking, mining will be able to turn the tide on the external reputation battle and expand the overall understanding of the industry the world relies on.

Mining is now at an important crossroads in external relations where executives are asking themselves which is most important: Stakeholder communications or public outreach. The answer is both, simultaneously, creatively and effectively through communications data and technologies.

In 2016, the mining industry welcomed events to help disrupt or hack traditional mining methods, techniques and technologies. Australia's Unearthed Solutions, for example, held an event in collaboration with Caterpillar and BHP Billiton to welcome entrepreneurs and technologists to creatively work with private data. Software developers, engineers, designers, data scientists and industry insiders came together to develop prototype solutions to resources sector problems.

Recently, Goldcorp and Integra Gold Corp have also partnered to hold the Disrupt Mining event on March 5th. According to the website, "#DisruptMining wants to showcase individuals, groups and companies that are using exponential technology and disruptive concepts to tackle the vast challenges faced by the mining industry, from exploration and discovery to production and automation to financing and corporate social responsibility."

On the cover of this trend it appears to read "How can mining make more money with better sustainability and efficiency? " Obviously this is a very important question to be answered. The second most important question for mining is, "How can mining communicate better with the public?"

Why is this questions important? Because as partisanship from misinformation and overall misunderstanding of mining increases, true sustainability is increasingly in jeopardy. More so in professional job placement within the industry rather than in technical operations.

According to a recent SME article, "Mining will be one of a handful of sectors that will add jobs at a fairly constant rate (11,000 to 13,000 per year) over the next 20 years driven by retirement of the current workforce and projected increase in demand for resource production. These will tend to be well-paying, relatively long-term jobs. On the downside, the U.S. may not presently have the skilled labor or educational base to meet the current resource demand, and the skilled labor that does exist may well be lured to places promising higher wages (Australia, Canada, etc.)."

To attract the nation's best and brightest to U.S. mining necessitates that mining companies do a better job of telling its story to the university students and technical specialists, this according to Kevin S. Crutchfield, CEO of Contura Energy. "We are an industry of the future."

To succeed in this, mining organizations and companies must turn to the internet and social media to relay their messaging to that younger audience. Why? Because this is where the market demands mining to be. Networks like Facebook, Instagram and SnapChat dominate the 16-28 age demographic. (And as that demographic ages, some may also become stakeholders.)

Adopting social media, however, will not be a complete disruption of mining's external communications strategies. Companies must pass on the "This is how much money we made last quarter" tactic and move into the "This is how we made our money and this is why we are proud of it" strategy. Consumers of social media love experiences and knowledge. Relationships online are founded by experiences. This may be the most crucial information for any mining communications office to remember when prioritizing enhanced public outreach campaigns.

If you cannot already tell, this is what makes Clear Creek Digital unique and special to the mining industry. We want to help mining organizations adopt newer, disruptive communication strategies for better sustainability in both social responsibility and professional awareness. We understand mining and we understand communication trends. How can we help you tell your story in 2017?


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