The mining industry is in a restraint mode right now. But from a longterm perspective, the demand for metals will undoubtedly resume, says recently appointed Sandvik Mining President Scot Smith.
What is the situation in the mining industry?
When metal prices dropped in the summer of 2012, our customers became more cautious with their investments. As a result, a lot of projects got, if not canceled, delayed. However, as metal content in the mines gradually decreases, mining companies need to excavate more in order to achieve the same level of output. This bodes well for companies such as Sandvik, where high importance is placed on the productivity of the equipment we manufacture.
What are the challenges for Sandvik Mining?
To better align our activities and opportunities to meet our end customers' needs. Our job is to develop, manufacture and deliver highly productive solutions, at the right time and at the right price. To do so, we need to be agile and flexible, not only in our manufacturing processes, but also in our product development and overall cost structure. We need to constantly adjust to an ever-changing market.
Looking ahead, what are your predictions for the industry?
There will be a shift toward selling productivity to an even greater degree. The future will be ours to develop if we are agile enough to get on the right track now. There will be a continuing need for metals as emerging countries mature and the global population grows. Mining has an important role to play in the building of our future society. At the same time, mining is a dangerous business, both for people and for the environment. Safety is at the top of our agenda and something we are constantly working on to improve. We are here to set the industry standard in a range of areas, including our customers' productivity, safety and our environmental footprint.