Barrick Gold rates #1
A survey conducted with senior mining technology/technician students across Canada reveals that, of 15 of the world’s largest and most active mining companies, Barrick Gold has the best corporate reputation for operating mining camps with a high quality of life.
The survey, conducted from Oct. 15 to Dec. 15, 2005, by mining analyst and academic Doug White, asked mining technology/technician students in their final year to rate the camp-quality-of-life reputations of 15 of the world’s largest and/or most active mining companies. Their perceptual-based ratings were derived from actual student experience in camps (approximately 50% had experience in camps), media reports and/or information from family, friends or acquaintances.
Camp quality of life was defined as the physical and psychological well-being of all workers in a camp and the livability of the camp community overall. Camps were defined as containing 50 or more workers. Completed questionnaires were returned from 29 students out of an estimated 70 senior level (i.e., graduating year) mining technology/technician students Canada-wide.
Student assessments of mining company camp quality of life reputations are presented in the table below ranked in order from the highest- to the lowest-rated.
In addition to illustrating the relative positioning of the mining companies in the minds of students, the research clearly shows that company size (based on production and profits generated) is not the sole determinant of corporate camp quality of life reputation. Two obvious examples that exhibit this point are the relative rankings of Barrick Gold vs. Newmont Gold and Placer Dome vs. AngloGold Ashanti. In each of these pairs the larger company elicited a lower camp quality of life reputation.
Indeed the plethora of factors that determine student perception of camp quality of life may be the way in which a company chooses to allocate its resources, the sophistication of its camp planning and analysis, or perhaps the quality of is marketing efforts around this issue.
Implications of research
Eighty percent of the students surveyed indicated that camp quality of life is very important, so the corporate implications may be substantial. Not only will camp reputation impact a mining company’s overall “brand equity”, but more particularly it will impact a company’s ability to recruit skilled workers.
If the forecasts of the Mining Industry Training and Adjustment Council and others come true, Canada and the rest of the world are on the cusp of a major mining-sector skilled-worker shortage. As such, in an overheated competitive recruiting environment, individual mining companies must take special care to enhance their attractiveness to much-needed mining school graduates. Along with higher wages and better benefits, comes a new focus on the quality of life in mining camps. Workers live much of their lives in these camps, and corporations with superior reputations for operating high quality, livable camps will have a tremendous recruiting advantage. “Ferreting out” and tracking these reputations with mining students is all about looking to the future and understanding which companies have this recruiting advantage and which companies may have to facilitate camp quality of life reputation “makeovers” to compete successfully.
Doug White is an educator, community planner and international authority on the topic of mining camp quality of life. He is part of a team of community planners, psychologists, anthropologists and mining engineers who pursue ongoing research in the area. He can be contacted at 604-734-0771 in Vancouver or [email protected]
Click here to view the table from the story.