Canadian Survey of World's Leading Mining Executives Reveals Surprising Optimism for Industry Recovery



    - Leadership Recruitment and Talent Upgrade Key to Sector Stimulus -

    TORONTO, May 11 /CNW/ - In an international report released this week by
Canada's Bedford Consulting Group - one of the leading executive search and
recruitment firms for the mining industry - 130 mining executives from around
the world reveal for the first time their economic priorities as they look
toward stimulating recovery in the next two years. Although the mining sector
has seen a recent subsidence in prices, a surprising 47 per cent of
respondents are either optimistic or moderately optimistic about 2009. While
this group expects to see improvements by the latter half of the year, 45 per
cent are expecting improvements no sooner than fourth quarter 2010.
    Not surprisingly, 84 per cent of those surveyed indicate that industry
improvements are most likely to come from the gold sector. "Gold is often
considered a stable alternative currency and a safe haven, especially during
times of economic uncertainty," says Russ Buckland, Managing Partner of the
Bedford Group. "The rise of gold leads to increased production and stimulates
employment growth in the mining industry, and other sectors affected,
including retail."
    The Bedford Group Mining Survey also indicated four factors holding back
the recovery of the industry: lack of available credit (84%); declining
markets for metals (83%); volatility of commodities (81%) and finding new
sources of investment financing (72%). When asked to identify what is needed
to stimulate recovery, credit flow was the top ranked priority (89%), followed
by the start of new infrastructure projects (54%).
    As the mining sector adjusts to new economic realities, a full 92%
anticipate capital project delays and 72% indicate that more shutdown of
operations are to be expected. Further consolidation among sector juniors are
presumed by 59% of respondents and 43% see a major selling of assets.
    A strong focus on employee retainment (25%), leadership development and
skills training (54%), and building relationships with schools and
universities (64%) were also identified as recovery tactics in the report.
"It's crucial for organizations in the industry to retain top talent,
especially in mining where talent across all levels is expected to decline in
the next five years," says Buckland. "When the industry emerges out of this
turbulent economy, organizations armed with the best management and workers
will prosper." A bright spot for aspiring minors, a resurgence of jobs is
predicted to emerge with industry recovery, survey respondents project a
strong need for Mining Engineers (66%) and Project Managers (62%). There will
be a need for mining skills (40%), general management (38%), geologists (37%),
and trade skills (35%) following recovery.

    
    Key Report Findings:

    -   While the majority of respondents are optimistic about the year ahead
        for the mining industry, 9% see the industry in a deep recession,
        likely to last well beyond 2010.

    -   Highlighting key factors that are currently limiting the mining
        industry's growth, 83% of respondents cited the declining market for
        metals, while 81% attribute the volatility of commodity prices for
        the slow recovery.

    -   Other limiting factors, unrelated to the current economy, include:
        operating costs (37%), socio-political risks (37%), lack of good
        projects (23%), government red tape (21%), and shortage of skills
        (20%).

    -   Realistic of the limitations caused by the economic downturn, a full
        92% expect further delays in capital projects and 72% expect
        continued slowdowns of operations to be announced.

    -   A short supply of mining disciplines including: mining engineers
        (68%), followed by mining and trades (46%), technical specialists
        (46%), senior executives (45%), and geologists (40%) is expected over
        the next five years during industry recovery.

    -   Survey results suggest that the significant shortage of Mining
        Engineers and Project Managers will lead to upward wage pressures for
        these positions.

    -   To combat the shortage of skills and talent, respondents suggest
        improving the industry's recruitment brand (69%) and to recruit for
        key leadership roles during the down cycle (71%). Also recommended is
        development of leadership training programs for current talent (65%),
        acquiring better talent for key roles (54%), and to utilize
        innovations in recruiting from non-traditional talent pools (46%).

    -   While gold emerges as the only bright spot in terms of improvement in
        2009, there is also expectation of improvement in some base metals
        (38%), uranium (34%), potash (20%), and iron ore (17%).

    -   Government's lack of execution of stimulus packages was seen as
        moderately holding back a recovery with 16% reporting this as a
        factor.
    

    The report was compiled by Bedford Consulting Group, one of Canada's
largest independent executive search firms and reflects global responses from
Canada, U.S, Central America, Europe, Asia Pacific, Australia, Russia, North
Africa, India and the Gulf Coast Cooperative, with 81% of respondents of "C
Suite" or general management positions.
    Russ Buckland is Managing Partner for the Bedford Group and also Global
Practice Leader for TRANSEARCH International Resources, Energy and
Infrastructure practice. He is widely recognized as one of the world's leading
authorities in executive search for the mining industry.

    About The Bedford Consulting Group

    The Bedford Consulting Group: Inspiring Leaders to Choose You is one of
Canada's largest privately held retained Executive Search firms. Complementing
our core Executive Search business, The Bedford Group offers an integrated
suite of innovative Talent Management services to our clients worldwide. We
are passionate about providing exceptional services to and strategically
partnering with our clients to attract and retain the very best in talent to
their organizations. Visit bedfordgroup.com for more details.

    EDITORS NOTE: For more information or to schedule an interview with Russ
Buckland please contact Anna Ng 416.504-3977 x29 or anna@ideaworkshop.ca





For further information:

For further information: Anna Ng, Jon Packer, (416) 504-3977 x 29/24,
anna@ideaworkshop.ca, jon@ideaworkshop.ca

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BEDFORD CONSULTING GROUP

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