2008 Joint Meeting of The Geological Society of America, Soil Science Society of America, American Society of Agronomy, Crop Science Society of America, Gulf Coast Association of Geological Societies with the Gulf Coast Section of SEPM

Paper No. 5
Presentation Time: 9:00 AM

Perspectives on An Emerging Workforce Crisis in Geology: Assessing a Looming Irony – the Mining Perspective: Carpe Diem

FREEMAN, Leigh W., General Manager, Downing Teal Inc, 650 S Cherry Street, Suite 525, Denver, CO 80246, LFreeman@downingteal.com

The limitations to the realization of business success in the mining industry are access to talent and access to mineral development rights (social license) driven by demographics and changing social values. The problem is acute today and will become more so over the next ten years. The Society of Mining Engineers (SME) – Education Sustainability Task Force recognized three disciplines ‘at risk': mining engineering, extractive metallurgy and economic geology. Half of the currently practicing professionals will retire in the next eight years. Their replacements do not exist. The mining industry, like many other technical-based businesses, has neglected its responsibility to secure successors. We are ‘gapped', lacking 30 to 45 year-olds to succeed the pending loss of intellectual capital, management and leadership. Simply stated: we need more graduates as well as professionals prepared to address changing social norms. Solutions lie within our grasp but require leadership to realize. Workforce challenges create opportunities for mining companies, educational institutions and industry professionals. Darwin's rules prevail. The ‘best' will ‘seize the moment' to distinguish themselves from their peers.