Speaker Spotlight: Ian Thomson

17 April 2019

Ian Thomson’s presentation at SDIMI 2019 is titled: The Social License to Operate: adoption and application in the mining sector, 1997-2017

We recently asked Ian some questions about his upcoming keynote presentation at SDIMI 2019, and the importance of the conference to the mining industry.

How significant is AusIMM’s SDIMI conference for the mining industry?

SDIMI meetings are unique in bringing together practitioners, academics and mining company professionals to share ideas and experiences and learn from each other.  The technical sessions are always of a very high quality and the side discussions hugely productive.  They are also a particularly valuable opportunity for networking with and among world leading experts in the social economic and environmental aspects of sustainable development.  AusIMM’s- SIDIMI conference in Sydney is not to be missed.

What are you most looking forward to about SDIMI 2019?

I am most looking forward to meeting the Australians who have been working on the SLO concept and its operational applications.  The Canadian and Australian experiences have been slightly different and although highly complimentary in terms of many of the fundamental aspects, differ in detail.  It will be an opportunity to talk, share and learn from each other.

Can you provide an insight into what your keynote presentation will cover?

I have been involved with the SLO concept from very shortly after Jim Cooney coined the term as relevant to the mining industry and my presentation will be very much that of an insider.  I intend to review the way in which SLO has become part of the language of the mining industry, the struggles to convert this powerful metaphor into a management tool, and the deeper understanding that has come as a result of academic research.  Necessarily, I will also look at the push back against SLO and politicization of the terminology and the ways in which these aspects of the history of SLO have impacted the industry, government and civil society.

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