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South Australia needs to set its sights high: Andrew Cole, Oz Minerals

South Australia can be if we so choose, a globally recognised city, Oz Minerals Managing Director and CEO Andrew Cole has told a CEDA audience in Adelaide.

“South Australia has many, if not all of the necessary ingredients to be just this. We need to set our sights equally as high for our State."

Speaking at an event on resourcing the future, Mr Cole said Oz Minerals is reinventing itself to take advantage of company strengths and the current state of the market they’re operating in.

“We’ve recognised our global future will be more successful while being grounded here, in South Australia,” he said.

“We are looking to be a global company with many assets and different commodities operating leanly and efficiently.”

Using well recognised regional transformations including Dubai, Jakarta and Shenzen, China, Mr Cole said these regions are helping define how Oz Minerals will grow and transform.

“Perhaps the first and most dramatic (transformation) is Dubai. In just 20 years it has gone from a desert, to a globally recognised hub. This has been a deliberate, planned transformation, that’s been extremely focused in its execution.

“Dubai has used Sovereign wealth to overcome its obvious natural resource limitation, excluding hydrocarbon…to reinvent itself as a bridge between Europe and Asia.

“There are common defining elements to a (successful) city:  harnessing long-term diverse investment, a culture of pursuing new ideas and innovation, a place that attracts the best and brightest people.

“These are similar to how we define successful or unsuccessful businesses…and this diverse thinking can easily be applied to our State.

“South Australia can be whatever we choose to be, but we must recognise that it is not one group or person’s job to make it happen, it’s each and every one of our roles to be a problem solver and pursuer of opportunity.”

Mr Cole discussed four areas Oz Minerals is focusing on to create transformational change:

  • Vision and having a common goal;
  • Creating a simple, enabling and resilient base; 
  • Building a culture of courage, innovation and results; and 
  • Collaborating and partnerships that create a mutual benefit.

“Now more than ever before, people are finding better ways of doing things. There is a whole new industry being created based on the premise that things can be done faster, they can be done better, and they can be done cheaper. If you don’t behave like this, others will supersede you,” he said.

“To foster a culture of innovation, you need to have a culture that starts with the premise of yes we can do this, and works on making it happen, rather than I have to get approval before I start something.

“As leaders we define whether people bring us solutions or problems and whether they innovate or simply comply.

“As a business, we need to give people room to make mistakes. Success can have far more significant benefits than the repercussions of any one short-term failure.”

Aside from cultural changes within the organisation, Mr Cole also discussed upcoming projects and the current conversation around changing South Australia’s time zone, arguing that aligning with Asia and “the biggest trading partners the world will ever see” would define South Australia as unique.

Also speaking at this event was Beach Energy Managing Director, Rob Cole.  Mr Cole shared how the company is responding to challenges in an industry where pricing is influenced by macroeconomic and geopolitical factors which drive oil demand, supply and prices, while Burke Urban Managing Director, Kym Burke discussed the importance of infrastructure in economic growth.

“There is a broader and deeper benefit that comes from infrastructure that is quite often ignored,” he said.

“These deeper markets and connections promote competition, promote greater specialisation from both firms and workers and they promote innovation and more dynamic economy.”