Our latest ‘Critical Conversation’ podcast features an exclusive discussion with Ross Beaty, the legendary mining entrepreneur, on the supercycle for commodities, the evolving politics of resource development and the ESG megatrend.
Ross Beaty is a leading mining entrepreneur and also a prominent environmentalist and philanthropist. He is currently Chair of Equinox Gold, and was Chair of Pan American Silver since its founding in 1984 until May 2021. Ross has over 40 years’ experience in the mining and renewable energy sectors, during which he successfully founded more than 15 resource companies, including Pan American Silver and Alterra Power.
This 30-minute conversation was recorded on 14 July 2021, and was moderated by Daniel Litvin, Founder and Managing Partner of Critical Resource.
Among the key points raised by Ross:
- The energy transition is driving the price of certain metals like copper – but we’re not in the same kind of global metals supercycle as we were during the early 2000s. This is a selective demand-driven cycle for certain commodities.
- It’s no secret that I am bullish on gold. Gold will have legs for some time to come, but I don’t think gold plays a role as a hedge against political turmoil anymore. There may be short-term impacts, but gold plays a more significant role as a hedge against fluctuating fiscal conditions.
- Risk is increasing for companies in certain jurisdictions. It is getting more and more difficult to develop and maintain the license-to-operate, even in countries that were previously quite supportive of mining. The solution is to have a diversified portfolio spread across different countries.
- ESG is now central to everything companies must do, but even the most sublime ESG operator will still confront hostile forces that will oppose their project. What matters is being able to feel like you’re doing the right thing. Generally speaking, companies that walk the talk will reap the benefits.
- Serendipity favours the mining industry. You can find a deposit worth billions from drilling in an area that hasn’t been explored before. You have optionality in the mining business that you don’t have in renewables. Nobody is moving quickly enough on climate change, with the exception of some countries in Europe. A lot of developing countries cannot afford to invest in the necessary infrastructure to ween us off fossil fuels. We need to do what we can to step up climate action.