Interview Series: Introducing Matt Mullins
We are excited to welcome Matt Mullins to the Snowden team, as an Executive Consultant based in London, UK.
Can you tell us a bit about you?
I have 40 years’ experience in the mining industry working in a variety of situations and for large companies, for small companies, and as an entrepreneur.
My early years were spent in the South African gold mining industry. I rapidly expanded my skills base, firstly into sedimentology, and then into geostatistics, rock engineering and mine planning. I was attracted by the entrepreneurial side of geology, and joined a small mining group (Severin Mining) which was the springboard to starting my own consulting company. I built this company up to 70 people in five years before it was bought by Randgold Resources, who wished to acquire the skills and systems that we provided. A stint as a mining analyst on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange gave me a taste for the business side of the industry, and I have been closely involved in M&A transactions ever since.
I was involved in Randgold’s acquisition of BHP’s gold assets in Mali and spent two years on site helping to set up and run the gold mines. After leaving Randgold, I joined then-Billiton to head up their technical services division. After the merger with BHP I worked in corporate technical and business improvement roles over 16 years (6 of them based in Perth) until being appointed as Vice-President for Mineral Resource Development. During this time I was fortunate to have led or have been closely involved in key strategic projects, such as developing and implementing the Competent Person reporting system, the Project Development standards and reviews, the Resource Growth Reviews, and Productivity Improvement.
After leaving BHP at the end of 2014 I returned to my entrepreneurial roots, and set up a niche Johannesburg and Perth based consultancy specializing in strategic studies and growing resource companies. ArcelorMittal attracted me to London, where I headed up their global Capital Allocation and Business Excellence portfolios. I am still based in London running my consulting company.
Industry Leadership Roles
Having always been attracted to the professional side of geology, I progressed from Chairman of the Western Transvaal Branch of the Geological Society (1994), to Council member, Vice-President for Professional Affairs, and then President in 2008/09. I have always played a leadership role in the development and implementation of global resource reporting and valuation codes, Such as SAMREC, SAMVAL and JORC. I currently sit on the Ethics Committee of the AusIMM
Can you explain some of the challenges you consult to your clients on in a few sentences and how you help them improve?
The key challenge is assisting clients to understand the full range of development opportunities, and to help them optimise the preferred option. Training and mentoring is a key role of a consultant, and this informal (and formal) role can hugely assist in the development of an individual’s career. The role of technology is frequently underestimated, and a consultant can play a key role in technology awareness. The cyclical nature of the industry often drives staff turnover, and a consultant can help to maintain continuity of systems and information.
What inspired your career in this industry?
Initially, it was the love of the outdoors and a desire to understand the Earth around us. It rapidly developed into an interest in producing the minerals which lead to increased living standards for all.
What is the most satisfying aspect of your role / the work you do?
It is the opportunity to meet different interesting people and to work on challenging projects, on a global stage.
What are your best memories from your career?
Doing acquisitions for Randgold (now Barrick) (and travelling on the Concorde with Mark Bristow), and for Billiton. These introduced me to the business environment in South America and in West Africa, and to the fast-paced M&A environment.
Being part of the BHP Mineral Resource Development team, headed by Gavin Yeates, which provided much of the technical thought leadership during the boom years of the 2000’s.
A career highlight was delivering the Productivity Improvement Project for BHP, and working for Mike Henry, which delivered $14bn of FCF across Equipment, People, Supply, Capital Projects, and Marketing.
Leading the BHP independent peer reviews for a succession of iron ore expansion projects in the Pilbara – and working with a number of top-rated project managers like Phil Montgomery, Ragnar Udd, and Michael Elias.
Leading the technical aspects of BHP’s proposed Platinum entry strategy for Gill Winkler.
All the wonderful people I met in Arcelor Mittal through the implementation of the capital investment system.
What’s a fun fact about you?
I’m obsessed with researching my family history in Dorset, Ayrshire and Mullingar.
Connect with Matt on LinkedIn.
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