Survey of World’s Leading Mining Exectuives Reveals Renewed Optimism in the Sector

VANCOUVER, Oct. 17, 2012 /CNW/ – In an international report released this week by The Mining Recruitment Group Ltd- a Vancouver based executive search firm focused on the resource industry- 125 mining executives from around the world revealed their outlook on the strength and viability of the sector over the short and long-term in addition to the current management strategies being employed. This survey was a direct follow-up to one completed in June 2012, the results of which highlight just how dramatically outlook and strategies can adapt over a remarkably short period.

Andrew Pollard, President of The Mining Recruitment Group Ltd, states that “Thankfully, this new report provides evidence that the worse may in fact already be behind us. Short term sentiment on the strength and viability of the sector has increased massively since our last polling just four months ago and executives seem to be focused on growth as opposed to just mere survival. Across the board the outlook is better for all involved in the Industry as sentiment has vastly improved, key issues, though still present have decreased in importance and hiring is back on the table.”

When asked about their short term (6-12 month) outlook on the overall strength of the mining industry, 47% of respondents hold a bullish view. This is up remarkably from our Q3 polling where only 8% of executives held a bullish outlook and 38% had stated they were bearish. With only 11% of respondents holding a bearish outlook at this point and the remaining 41% holding a neutral view “there has clearly been a massive change in the psychology of mining executives over a very short time” according to Pollard. When comparing the next twelve months to the last, sentiment is up dramatically with 67% of executives expecting the sector to perform better. This is in stark contrast to our last polling where 63% of executives were operating under the impression that the sector would perform the same as it had or would in fact get worse.

Respondents felt bullish about the prospects for their own businesses over the next 12 months with 74% of executives thinking that their Company is positioned to outperform the market as a whole. According to Pollard “Though of course they all can’t be right in their assumptions, this emphasises that senior management teams have absolute confidence in achieving growth in their companies and the marked change in positive sentiment towards the sector as a whole may be fueling some high ambitions.”

In the current landscape, an overwhelming 74% of those polled said that their companies have made a concerted effort to reduce overhead. These findings are largely unchanged from our previous polling, though in light of the increasingly positive short term view of the sector what is of interest is that 89% of respondents indicated that they were just as focused on maintaining cost cutting initiatives as they were 6 months ago.

When asked to predict when market conditions would take a sustained turn for the better, 41% of executives surveyed thought it take until the 3rd quarter of 2013 or beyond to develop any sort of real traction. Many however are optimistic that Q1 2013 will be when things start to turn around with 27% of the vote and 21% thinking it would be Q2. Only 11% thought this would happen this quarter, Q4.

Key Report Findings:

  • 55% of respondents believe that the sector as a whole will perform better than it did in the first half of 2012. This is up significantly from only 22% of respondents that thought things would get better in the second half of 2012 when asked in June.
  • Though the short term outlook has picked up considerably, the long term outlook has stayed steadfastly rosy, with 69% of respondents being bullish as to the strength of the industry a three year time frame, whereas only 8% are bearish at any degree.
  • 59% of respondents were moderately to extremely concerned over a lack of investment capital moving into the industry over the next two years, down from 76% holding this view during our last polling.
  • Down substantially also is concern over the volatility in commodities prices over the next two years with only 23% being moderately to extremely concerned, a marked difference from the 43% of respondents who had indicated this during our last polling.
  • 66% of respondents Do expect to recruit over the next six months. This is a major reversal in outlook from our last polling where 60% had indicated that they would not be hiring.
  • As access to capital eases, executives have no shortage of ideas as to how their company will put it to use. At the top of mind for 74% of respondents are acquisition opportunities. 55% would also like to see increased exploration and development budgets and 14% would increase their marketing and investor relations spend.
  • 90% of executives indicated that they were not considering any further layoffs for the remainder of 2012.

Survey Methodology:

Those that took part in this survey were executives from mining companies of all sizes and stages. Of those polled, 49% came from companies with market caps below $50m, 21% from companies between $51M-$250M, and 14% from companies with market caps between $251m-$1b. 16% were made up of executives from $1b+ entities. The lions’ share of responses came from executives at companies that would primarily be described as explorers, with 51%. Among those remaining, 14% were primarily at the development stage and 35% were producers. The Report was sent out and completed between October 1st-October 12th, 2012.

About The Mining Recruitment Group Ltd.

Established in 2006, The Mining Recruitment Group (MRG) is a leader in executive search for emerging junior and mid-cap mining companies. Since our inception, we have advised companies ranging in size from $5M to $20B in market cap and have been involved in successful searches spanning all senior executive and functional leadership positions within the mining industry.

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