New Team Member: Matthew Jarvis, Snowden Advisory

This month, we’re introducing another Advisory team member, Matthew Jarvis who joined us in South Africa this year. As our team continues to grow, we wanted to introduce Matthew and share some insights into his deep experience in the mining sector.

Can you tell us a bit about yourself?

From a career perspective, I am a mining engineer by training, having started my career with DeBeers over 20 years ago. However, along with the ever-changing evolution of mining, the industry has taken me on a very diverse and exciting  journey over the years, spanning multiple commodities across multiple continents and in varying capacities along the way. My involvement over a broad range of commodities including inter-alia; Diamonds, Gold, Manganese, Iron Ore, Coal, Nickel, Bauxite, Zinc, Copper and Vanadium has culminated in the development of my current area of experience and focus, being mining/project investment evaluation and mining financial analysis/corporate finance. 

Following my early career with DeBeers, I joined PriceWaterhouseCoopers Corporate Finance in Johannesburg where I worked with a core team of specialists across multiple fields in the resources industry. The early 2000’s were characterized by an explosion of mining-investment in South Africa as a result of the key political changes through which country had recently emerged. The shift and opening-up of mining right ownership, the need for the empowerment of historically disadvantaged individuals together with the re-entry of South Africa back into the world economic stage, all propelled by the global financial boom at the time, resulted in an increase in both domestic and international investment interest in the South African resources sector.  

In 2010, I joined BHP Billiton and was responsible for investment oversight of their projects in the Manganese sector across Australia and Africa. Subsequently, as part of the formation of South32, I moved to the Aluminium, Manganese and Nickel business in Australia, having investment oversight of these commodity-related operations and projects across South America, Africa and Australia. In 2015, I joined the demerged South32 in Johannesburg as part of the Africa business which included Thermal Coal. 

In January 2021, I joined Snowden. Recognising the diversity of skills, expertise and geographic coverage that embodies Snowden and coupling that with the experience and skills I have acquired over the years, the move was logical and a great fit. Going forward, I will no doubt be able to contribute over 20 years of diverse personal industry experience into fold and I am looking forward to working with what is a dynamic team and look forward to the great challenges that lie ahead. 

Can you explain some of the challenges you consult to your clients on in a few sentences and how you help them improve? 

By nature, consulting is the business of providing advice and guidance to clients. More importantly though, it is the provision of robust advice that has been informed by a good understanding of the industry and the project/operation, as well as a critical analysis of key value drivers that would influence the investment.  

Clients, more often than not, have a natural bias toward their project, as significant time, effort and resources as well as reputation, have usually been staked on it. One fundamental challenge as a consultant arises where recommending an outcome that is not aligned to the client’s expectations is required. In addition to effectively communicating this, ensuring that the project sponsor is equipped and able to act against their judgment where necessary in a way that does not detrimentally impact or jeopardise the reputation or confidence of all parties involved, is imperative. 

What inspired your career in this industry? 

The resources sector is an industry that has many facies. Commodities are the building blocks that underpin the growth and development of the industrial world. However, the value of commodities or a project is driven by multiple variables ranging from geological mineralization, operational approaches, infrastructure & logistics as well as markets, macroeconomics and general investor sentiment etc. Furthermore, given the time required to access and mine minerals, a longer-term view on markets, economics and political climates are required. Having an holistic view and bringing together and assessing the impact of all the key aspects into a business to help make an informed decision is inspiring and rewarding, particularly when it leads to the correct decision being made. 

What is the most satisfying aspect of your role / the work you do? 

Working with a range of people with diverse skills often embodies creative thinking and value-driven outcomes. Working collectively with such individuals to solve problems is critical but the ability to then provide well-informed advice and guidance to clients based on this work is rewarding. 

What are your best memories from your career? 

My career has taken me to many interesting places over the years. From working with operational teams underground at DeBeers Finsch Mine, to navigating the tropical climates of Gabon or Colombia, I have met an incredibly rich and diverse range of people, many of whom I remain in contact with today. From heated boardroom discussions to casual social meetings with colleagues, the mining industry has provided countless opportunities for growth and development in my career and personal development. 

What’s a fun fact about you? 

I enjoy multiple sports and hobbies, some of which I’ve found are now better left to yester-year when I was in my 20’s. I regularly try to steal some time away and can be found somewhere in the South African highveld stalking trout in some meandering stream or cool deep dam.

Connect with Matthew on LinkedIn, or enquire with us for your next project.

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