Innovative mining leaders take the stage for Austmine 2021
Mining News Pro - Harnessing Intelligence Mining Innovation Conference & Exhibition is set to open the stage to a host of high-calibre guest speakers, including David Moult, who took on the role of CEO at Yancoal in March 2020.
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Joining the organisation as COVID-19 entered our shores, Moult’s leadership has successfully navigated Yancoal through a tumultuous year.

Disruption is not new to the coal industry, though it was during the pandemic that the company’s innovation, resilience and ability to rapidly adapt came to the forefront.

Yancoal chief executive officer David Moult said the coal industry has been through many cycles for different reasons, which is what makes the industry competitive, entrepreneurial, responsive and resilient.

“Of course, no one could have anticipated the extent and impact of the COVID-19 pandemic this year, and the ramifications are far-reaching and ongoing,” he said.

“At Yancoal, the way to survive the level of volatility the pandemic created was to be at the right end of the cost curve. Our portfolio of low-cost assets and a good workforce also gave our company the strength to survive, and it will continue to do so in the future.”

In spite of a year of turmoil which has seen some companies fold, Yancoal is well positioned for ongoing growth.

“We will continue obtaining acquisitions – though with a focus on value not volume accretion. We’ll also expand and extend our existing projects – such as the Moolarben and Mount Thorley Warkworth mines where we’ve already identified additional production capacity,” Moult said.

Yancoal’s values of Innovation, People, Safety, Integrity and Excellence, has been a standout in the heart of its people and business as the year has unfolded.

“Whether it was working from home or installing thermal imaging to monitor worker health at mine sites, everyone worked together to implement work practices and measures to mitigate COVID related risks,” Moult said.

“It was through the ideas of our people that Yancoal was able to drive innovation, satisfy customers and create value for shareholders. It was a direct result of their work that we experienced minimal disruption to our operations and succeeded to meet our operational targets.

“With everyone’s efforts, by September we had achieved a reduction in our unit cost to A$60 a tonne and still made our financial targets. That’s an impressive result at a time when inflation was stagnant and some parts of the industry were at a standstill.”

Yancoal employs 4000 workers across its 11 sites in regional areas across Queensland, Western Australia and New South Wales.

“These regions are home to our employees, our suppliers and service providers, as well as their families and friends. It is critical that these communities thrive and are provided every possible opportunity to reach their full potential,” Moult said.

“Our mandate of safety, security and wellbeing is not only about our people on site – it extends to their families and the communities in which they belong.”

Yancoal has invested $1.6 million into 177 local initiatives in 2019 to support the local communities in which it operates.

Yancoal has continuously explored new ways of undertaking routine processes to improve efficiency and safety on the modern mine site.

“At our Moolarben Underground Mine in New South Wales we elevated levels of automation for longwall mining as well as established new continuous miner, coal clearance, pumping and conveyor systems. At Cameby Downs Mine in Queensland, we trialled the automation of dozer-push operations,” Moult said.

Moult also attributes Yancoal’s success in 2020 to its relationships with Mining, Equipment, Technology and Services (METS) suppliers, and he has some advice for new suppliers entering the marketplace.

“Premium METS suppliers are collaborative, flexible and innovative,” Moult explains. “During the pandemic, our suppliers exhibited a ‘no surprises’ mindset. This approach allowed us to work together closely to address supply challenges as they arose,” Moult said.

“For new METS suppliers it’s a valuable learning to consider when talking to decision-makers. Suppliers need to clearly set out their value proposition and how they offer efficiency and cost perspectives that practically align to how a company does business, whether that’s in procurement or in another area.”

According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, the total economic contribution of Australia’s mining and METS sector in 2019-20 was $202 billion GDP, making it the largest economic contributor to the economy. Last year alone, Yancoal assets produced 52.1 million tonnes of saleable coal for international markets.

“Coal is a vital part of a robust energy mix and essential for developing economies. While the percentage share of coal in the mix may lessen as new energy sources reach a maturity in the marketplace, the demand and volume of coal will remain strong across the globe,” Moult said.

David Moult will be speaking at the Austmine 2021: Harnessing Intelligence Mining Innovation Conference and Exhibition which will take place from 25 – 27 May 2021 at the Perth Convention and Exhibition Centre.

The Austmine Conference is the leading, global mining innovation event. Held every two years, the event features more than 50 mining innovation and technology experts across a two-day conference program and interactive pre-conference workshops. The event is underpinned by a series of standout educational and networking opportunities, including a trade exhibition featuring live demonstrations, the collaborative Ideas Exchange, Meet the Miners and the social highlight, the Austmine Industry Leaders’ Dinner and Awards.


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