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“We knew that we were presented with a unique opportunity.”

Roy Hill CEO, Barry Fitzgerald, joins the stage alongside a host of industry experts for Austmine 21, to be held in Perth from 25-27 May 2021.

The Austmine team caught up with Barry to delve into his role as Chief Executive Officer at Roy Hill; what is modern-day innovation; how to strike a balance between innovation and risk management; and where does Roy Hill go to find inspiration.

Innovation and decision-making from the start?

We knew that we were presented with a unique opportunity starting out as a greenfield project. We started working on the premise that people, innovation and technology were at the forefront of every decision. Each have been part of our journey from the outset.

We’ve embedded technology into every facet of the business by building end-to-end supplier systems and interfaces that work and are continuously being innovative.

Our workforce is much more than innovative and focused, they are a community of diverse people from professional and technical backgrounds who come together and achieve remarkable results.

Striking a balance: risk management and new innovations?

It hinges on looking at the rewards of the risks, the risk capital, and identifying the benefits and opportunities. Technology and risk go hand in hand. We keep an open mind and go in with a view that maybe it will work or maybe it won’t.

It’s about being proactive and looking for opportunities.

We’ve always been prepared to put in our own internal resources and to consider non-traditional pathways, which have been key to being cost competitive. We implemented a drill manufacturing solution not typical in the industry at the time which gave us a better technical solution and better suited the needs of our business. It gave us confidence and proved that being proactive, looking for opportunities and being willing to implement them can pay off.

Our Remote Operations Centre in Perth has gone a long way to provide people with a touch point to the business by helping them to understand our propositions and approach. They can see the supply system, demand and supply chains, and how every facet of the business fits together. Having a structure for commercial agreements that enable opportunities for freedom, expression and productive relationships when large amounts of innovation are occurring, is crucial.

Where does Roy Hill go to find inspiration?

We start by looking within – that is, to have an open mind which is ready and prepared to have thinking and paradigms challenged. We’re always scanning the environment and asking the questions: is this the right fit, or, can we use it?

We have an open and transparent way of working with suppliers, industry and people on how commercial relationships might work. We brief all of our providers on our plans so they can see the expanse of the business and if and where they can add value to it. We have clear innovation targets and experienced success with very small to large companies, so business shouldn’t be put off by size because it’s about fit and innovation.

Does culture play a role?

We talk about being a knowledge-based business and the importance of our values ‘Lead, Care, Think, Perform’, which underpins every facet of our business. Our commitment to retaining our people, growing their skills and supporting their professional development is fundamental. It’s through this that we have created a workplace culture that thrives. We develop our people so they have the skills and capability to perform their day-to-day job with excellence but can also explore other opportunities that arise across the business.

We’ve created a place where people can expand their career path which plays out in a very practical way. We encourage every employee to submit improvement ideas, have a structured reward and recognition program, and provide the opportunity for our people to explore other areas through our Career Enrichment Program. This last one has been key with our truck drivers who are exploring new fields as we move towards haul truck automation. Externally, we have an active program that brings students in to gain work experience and is an avenue where we can demonstrate that we are a company capable of being different and delivering an interesting work environment.

Looking ahead: ‘must have’ emerging skills?

As data becomes more prevalent and people need to be more valuative and critical in their analysis – critical thinking, emotional intelligence and influencing skills are those that we seek out, and also seek to develop. The ability to communicate ideas, the connectivity of outcomes and actions and being able to influence people are particularly important, especially when working remotely. Broader integrated capability will be critical in the engineering and commercial context.

On Roy Hill’s legacy?

We’re building a business where people can say, “That was a great experience, and we did something pretty special, towards building the best mining company in Australia.”

Hear more from Roy Hill Chief Executive Officer Barry Fitzgerald during Austmine’s 2021 Conference: Harnessing Intelligence, 25-27 May 2021.

For more information or to register, visit https://etf.eventsair.com/austmine-2021.

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