In light of recent developments and challenges within the mining industry, we engaged four seasoned professionals to share their insights and experiences in a round table discussion.


Gary Rivenes

Leader – Operations Executive, Independent and Leadership Consultant with Balmert Consulting
Gillette, Wyoming, United States
A seasoned Operations Executive from Wyoming, USA passionate about leadership, people safety, and business improvements.

Joe Bennett

Warehouse Logistics Manager – Love2Shop (part of Pay Point). Mill Bank College, Liverpool
Liverpool, England, United Kingdom
A UK Liverpool-based Logistics professional who believes in the power of practical experience and commitment to the job.

Bagus Zaqqie Khadafi

Mining Development enthusiast- PT Nipindo Primatama
Banten, Indonesia
A geological engineering enthusiast from Indonesia with experience in exploration and development.

Terence Jordaan

CEO Terra Group
Centurion, Gauteng, South Africa
CEO of Terra Group in South Africa, with an aim to make the world a better place.

The Role of Leadership

Leadership stands out as a key component for success. Gary underlines its importance, attributing a significant portion of productivity to effective leadership. Joe, despite not having a formal academic background, echoes this sentiment, attributing his varied career to leadership. Terence and Bagus further stress its significance, hinting at its essentiality across different geographies.

Formal Education vs. Real-World Experience

Gary believes formal education opened numerous “mental doors” for him. In contrast, Joe’s practical experience, devoid of academia, carved out his career path. Terence and Bagus acknowledge the importance of formal education but emphasize the value of on-the-job experiences.

Commitment as a Management Tool

Commitment emerged as a universal tool for successful management. Gary feels it’s essential for success, and Joe resonates with this, suggesting it is a part of a motivated workforce. Terence speaks of it as a key success factor, while Bagus believes commitment engenders trust, which he deems crucial in the industry.

Navigating Career Goals and Promotions

Gary views job goals as consistent throughout his career, with promotions contingent on performance. Joe has always centered on customer and supplier satisfaction to drive profit. Terence and Bagus, coming from CEO and engineering backgrounds respectively, have had diverse views on job goals but agree on the importance of designing one’s career path.

Company Culture and Managerial Promotions

Our panelists concur on the need for new employees to gel with company culture. However, they differ slightly on managerial promotions. Gary and Terence advocate for a balance of technical and managerial skills, while Joe stresses the importance of connecting with people. Bagus places trust above all, implying it’s more about interpersonal relationships than technical prowess.

Work-Life Balance

All our experts underline its importance, especially in today’s fast-paced environment. Terence believes in designing the life you want, while Gary stresses getting this balance right. Joe, while valuing it, admits that personal sacrifices might be required early in one’s career. Bagus views it as integral to achieving life goals.

Advice for Young Professionals and

Improving Industry Image Gary urges young professionals to enjoy their roles and avoid hastening to the next big thing. Joe emphasizes commitment, learning, and deriving joy from it. Terence, with a playful jab, suggests avoiding being a mere “idea sidekick”, while Bagus emphasizes the importance of trust.

On industry image, Gary suggests advertising technical capabilities and ensuring work flexibility, given the demanding 24-hour operations. Joe recommends easier access to vocational qualifications. Terence emphasizes leadership improvement, and Bagus believes the industry’s trust quotient needs bolstering. The plethora of perspectives provided by our panelists serves as a testament to the dynamic nature of the mining industry, offering valuable guidance for both industry novices and veterans.

The plethora of perspectives provided by our panelists serves as a testament to the dynamic nature of the mining industry, offering valuable guidance for both industry novices and veterans.

Mining Industry Perspectives: Diving Deeper

Upon delving into the diverse thoughts of our panelists, a series of nuances emerge. Here, we further break down these insights to paint a detailed picture of the challenges, triumphs, and transformations within the mining industry.

Leadership: A Universal Pillar

The recurring emphasis on leadership’s importance highlights its role as a universal bedrock across sectors. Gary, with his vast experience in operations, paints a picture of the repercussions of absent leadership – a team slowed down and veering off course. Joe echoes this sentiment with a more grassroots perspective. His hands-on experience reveals the direct correlation between leadership and career progression. Meanwhile, Terence’s stance as a CEO showcases leadership as a top-down necessity for a company’s overall vision. Bagus, with his boots-on-the-ground experience, implies that even the most technically-driven sectors require that leadership touch.

The Academia vs. Experience Debate

A juxtaposition emerges when looking at Gary and Joe’s takes on formal education. For Gary, the academic world expanded his horizons, suggesting that theoretical knowledge acts as a catalyst for practical application. Joe, however, is testament to the old adage: experience is the best teacher. His trajectory reminds us that practical knowledge and innate skills can often outweigh degrees. This balance between academic grounding and real-world learning becomes pivotal in an industry as dynamic as mining.

Commitment: Beyond Just Work

Commitment, as seen through our panelists’ eyes, is not just about work dedication but also about interpersonal relationships. Gary and Joe place commitment at the forefront of management, but their reasons diverge. While Gary sees it as a tool to streamline operations, Joe views it as a bridge between staff and management. Terence and Bagus, however, present a more holistic view. For them, commitment extends beyond tasks to include company values, goals, and even personal growth.

Navigating the Labyrinth of Career Progression

The career progression narratives offered by our experts reveal a landscape filled with varied challenges. Gary’s journey suggests a meritocratic environment, with promotions hinging on demonstrable results. Joe, however, portrays a more autonomous path where one’s drive charts the course. Terence and Bagus add layers of complexity, suggesting that while set paths exist, adaptability and intuition often determine success.

The Multifaceted Nature of Managerial Promotions

Managerial promotions, as per our panelists, are a cocktail of skills, ranging from technical know-how to interpersonal aptitude. Gary and Terence lean towards a balanced approach, suggesting that neither can be neglected. Joe’s emphasis on interpersonal connections aligns with his hands-on approach, underscoring the importance of human relationships even in a tech-driven industry. Bagus, on the other hand, pivots the conversation to trust, suggesting that promotions should be based on reliability and credibility.

Towards a More Resilient Industry Image

A forward-looking perspective emerges when discussing the industry’s image. Gary’s focus on advertising technical capabilities underscores the importance of highlighting the industry’s modernity and innovation. Joe, meanwhile, addresses a persistent concern: the balance between vocational and academic pathways. His viewpoint indicates a growing trend – the shift towards recognizing vocational qualifications, which could democratize the industry. Terence and Bagus remind us of the human factor, emphasizing the roles of leadership and trust, respectively.

It becomes evident that while our panelists hail from diverse backgrounds, their experiences intersect and diverge in fascinating ways. Their collective insights not only shed light on the mining industry’s present but also pave the way for its promising future.

In the intricate world of the mining industry, voices from the ground highlight the universal importance of leadership, the intertwining relationship between formal education and hands-on experience, the multifaceted nature of commitment, and the labyrinth of career progression. Gary Rivenes and Joe Bennett, each coming from distinct academic backgrounds, bring to light an intriguing balance between theoretical and practical realms. For Gary, academia acts as a catalyst, unlocking mental doors, while Joe’s trajectory showcases the undeniable power of experience. This duality raises an essential question: In a rapidly evolving industry, what holds more weight – the grounded realities of experience or the expansive knowledge from formal education?

The theme of commitment, woven through their narratives, reveals itself to be more than just work dedication. Instead, it emerges as a bridge between staff, management, values, and personal growth. This commitment takes on different hues, from streamlining operations to fostering trust and human relationships, reflecting the industry’s intricate fabric.

The path to career progression and managerial promotions, as painted by our experts, isn’t linear. While meritocracy plays a role, adaptability, intuition, and a keen understanding of human dynamics often tip the scales. Promotions, in this light, transform from mere upward movement to a complex dance of technical skills, interpersonal aptitude, reliability, and credibility.

As the industry hurtles forward, a renewed focus on its image surfaces. The need to highlight its modernity, the push for recognizing vocational qualifications, and the perennial emphasis on leadership and trust together chart a promising course. Thus, the insights from our panelists not only mirror the present-day intricacies of the mining sector but also beckon a future brimming with potential.

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