Monthly Archives: May 2020

How Coronavirus Will Change The Future Of Work

This new coronavirus outbreak will have a major impact on many areas of our lives.  How will it affect work?

Please follow the link to read the article at source.


5 Predictions About How Coronavirus Will Change The Future Of Work
Tracy Brower

“The world is upside down and sometimes it can be tough (really tough, if we’re honest) to stay optimistic and maintain sanity. Questions are everywhere: What the future will hold? What will we learn? How will life (continue to) change? And what will the new normal be?

We’re experiencing shifts in so many facets of life from family and community to work and how we socialize. While we may worry about the worst, a positive future is likely when considering what your company will do for you, how you will work with others, how your workplace and technology will change, how your company will modify its overall approaches and even how you take advantage of career opportunities.

The future will be bright—and there is cause for hope—in these five key areas:

What Your Company Does For You
Your employer will expand the support they provide you. Many employers have added to employee support systems as a result of the coronavirus crisis, and it is likely this new programming will be maintained. Companies have been forced to consider employee wellbeing more holistically—in terms of not only the physical, but also mental and emotional wellbeing. The wellness centers set up during the pandemic or morning meditations your company began offering are likely to continue. In addition, companies are learning how important employee engagement and motivation are—no matter where people are working—and this knowledge will inform a greater level of support for employees.

Support for mental health will be embraced. Isolation is a primary factor in depression, anxiety and other significant mental health issues—and the need for physical and social distancing has only exacerbated this struggle. Previously, mental health may not have received the necessary attention it deserved. But with a potential increase in mental health issues, there is a greater appreciation for its importance and for the ways companies can provide solutions, employment benefits and programming to help employees.

Leadership will improve. Throughout a crisis, leadership is more important than ever. It is also clear which leadership behaviors are most effective. In the toughest times, the leaders who excel are those who communicate clearly, stay calm and strong, demonstrate empathy, think long-term and take appropriate decisive action. It is likely these difficult times will filter out leaders who are less stellar. During normal times, leaders may be able to slide by with less effective approaches, but when crisis hits, true character is revealed. It’s possible some ineffective leaders may be able to hide, but it’s likely leaders will become more effective overall. Those who weren’t the best will step up. Those who can’t improve their game will be weeded out. Those who are the most effective will receive plenty of praise and reinforcement, thus setting new standards for all.

Company culture will become a focus. Like leadership, company culture is paramount to an organization’s success. If culture is “the way things get done around here” or “what people do when no one is looking”, it has become especially critical in guiding actions and decisions of both leaders and employees. It is likely companies will increasingly acknowledge the importance of culture as context for performance and employee engagement—focusing on monitoring, managing and curating a culture by design (rather than a culture by default).

How You Work With Others
Your relationship with your teammates will improve. Nothing is more significant in creating bonds between teammates than a common enemy, and the coronavirus struggle is a perfect example of what will strengthen relationships. These are very tough times and when we come out on the other side—having gone through it together—we will have new levels of connection with our colleagues. You’ll be excited to see people you missed during your furlough or work-from-home period. And you’ll share a lasting bond with teammates with whom you’ve worked to solve problems and act proactively during these difficult times. Work is fundamentally social—and today, and in the future, co-workers will occupy an even more important place in our work experience.

Work will allow for more diversity. The traditional approach to work may not have been as welcoming to those with different capabilities—physically, mentally or socially. But allowing people to work from home has made way for more people to contribute in new ways. Companies will realize how much those with differing capabilities are able to contribute. As a result, we will see an expanded view of how lots of people can bring their best to work—through inclusive design, new policies and practices, and new approaches to teamwork that support different ways of working.

Your boss and teammates will be more empathetic about your work-life. After having been home so much—especially without helpful services like childcare and cleaning services—managers and colleagues will have new respect for life’s demands, and appreciation for all-things family. They will more deeply understand what it takes to orchestrate your personal life from cooking to supporting kids in their school work. In addition, they will have a refreshed level of appreciation for the ways family and friends are critical to life and happiness.

Your Workplace And Technology
Work will become more flexible. Many companies have been resistant to letting employees work from home, but this unexpected global work-from-home experiment has forced companies to accept it as a legitimate option. Companies have put greater technology systems and support in place to facilitate mobile working. Teams are figuring out how to collaborate at a distance and leaders are improving their ability to manage based on outcomes and objectives rather than presence. Companies will expand the acceptability of remote work, and they will provide more choice and flexibility to employees to work wherever they can get their best work done, including away from the office.

Your office will get better. When employees go back to the office, employers will be forced to re-think their approach to the workplace. Companies will need to consider enhanced cleaning techniques, more distancing and increased choices for employees across a campus (providing places for focus, collaboration, learning, socializing and respite). In addition, all the things employees loved about being home—comfortable places to relax between meetings or personalization for example—will create new demands on the office. Organizations will have a new appreciation for the importance of the office, the critical nature of face-to-face interactions and the ways their workplaces must support employees.

You’ll be more comfortable with technology. No matter what your level of comfort with technology in the past, you’ve likely had to become even more adept after the current COVID crisis. It’s stressful to use new systems, leverage technology to connect in new ways and work through challenges when your platform goes down because the network is overloaded. But you’ve probably expanded your comfort, capability and confidence with all-things tech. In addition, your company or neighborhood may have upgraded their infrastructures, creating a better pipeline and more streamlined and user-friendly interfaces, making technology easier to live with and ensuring it creates less friction in your day.

Your Company’s Approaches
Speed will increase, and bureaucracy will be reduced. As companies grow and mature, it’s natural for them to establish processes and practices that ensure standardization and consistency. While these are necessary, the downside can be the unintended slowing of progress and increase in bureaucracy. The COVID crisis has led many companies to reduce or eliminate unnecessary systems and has caused organizations to streamline processes to respond more quickly to coronavirus-based needs. In addition, many companies have had to delegate decision making to enhance speed—resulting in increased empowerment for employees. Whether they are HR systems, development systems, manufacturing systems or customer-response systems, the ability to respond quickly is likely to have a positive effect in the future. If we can increase efficiencies and empowerment today, surely we will avoid more non-value-added work and decision bottlenecks in the future.

Innovation will flourish. The most innovative solutions often arise in the face of the greatest constraints. Our current COVID-19 challenges create extraordinary barriers to business as usual. As a result, today’s struggles and pain are forcing new ways of thinking, better approaches and fresh perspectives on problems. Companies will learn from the requirement for greater innovation and create the conditions for expanded levels of creativity, exploration and problem solving.

Companies will work together more effectively. As Shakespeare said in The Tempest, “Misery acquaints a man with strange bedfellows”. Companies who competed in the pre-COVID world, may have been driven to collaborate in today’s new normal. There are examples of restaurants who were traditionally in competition, now working together to donate food to needy people, or manufacturing organizations collaborating to provide jobs to displaced workers. There are even examples of previously-competing companies sharing engineering information to manufacture critical medical supplies. While it is unrealistic to expect companies will share IP or development secrets in the future, companies will have a renewed sense of responsibility to their communities and a willingness to collaborate for the greater good across the fields in which they play (ensuring they follow anti-trust laws, of course).

Your Opportunities To Contribute
You’ll have renewed career opportunities. At this writing, unemployment is at a near-all-time high and is predicted to rise as high as 32%, so this point may seem unrealistic, but situations that upend the status quo can be ideal—ultimately—for career development. During these times, companies have had to reassess critical jobs, expand definitions of responsibilities and explore new boundaries for key tasks. With such fundamental shifting of jobs and the way they’re designed, career opportunities will abound. You may be furloughed today, but when the economy comes back, there will be significant need for people who can ramp up quickly, take action and put motivation toward efforts that make companies hum. These opportunities may be within organizations or may deliver on the promise of the “gig economy” in which people are their own brand and go wherever the need is—within companies or as contractors.

Your entrepreneurial spirit will be tapped when every business is a start-up. When the coronavirus finally abates, businesses will be in a rush to re-establish their value, re-energize their product flows and do so quickly. In this way, even the most mature, well-established organizations will become like start-ups. There will also be a potential deluge of new businesses and perhaps “world-changing companies,” according to Mark Cuban. All of these will need quick thinking, fast flow of ideas and ingenuity to figure things out and make things happen. This kind of culture will create opportunities for new jobs and career development.

At the moment, it may be tough to see the light at the end of the tunnel or hold a sense of optimism for the future, but tomorrow will be improved by the struggles we’re facing today. Whether it’s what your company does for you, the way you work with others, improvements to your choices at work, how your company approaches its community commitments or your expanded career opportunities, the learning we do today will improve the years to come. The current crisis will eventually pass and a new normal will emerge—and there is plenty of reason to believe that future will be bright.”


Dust Monitoring Equipment – providing equipment, services and training in dust fallout management to the mining industry.

Dust Monitoring Equipment - providing equipment, services and training in dust fallout management to the mining industry.

What Speeds Up Erosion?

There are many things that we do that cause soil erosion.  And with soil erosion, there is more dust created.

Take a look at which activities cause the most erosion.

Follow the link to the original article.


Which of Man’s Activities Speeds Up Erosion?

Updated April 25, 2017
By Susan Sherwood

“Wind, water and glaciers all wear down soil and rock and carry it to other sites. The process of erosion makes a tremendous, costly impact around the world. Each year, estimated damage due to erosion reaches $400 billion worldwide. Some of this is due to natural causes, but a great deal of erosion comes from human activities such as agriculture, mining and construction.

The Effects
Whether it is natural or man-made, erosion leads to a number of problems. Over 99 percent of the world’s food is raised on farms, but the planet is losing about 96,000 square kilometers (about 37,000 square miles) of cropland annually. It takes 20 years for just 2.5 acres to be replaced. Erosion also leads to sediment dumping in waterways. This harms habitats, killing organisms dependent upon streams and rivers. In addition, when land is worn down, it cannot control water flow well, so flooding is more likely.

Cultivation Challenge
Farmland is being reduced because of erosion, but agriculture practices are, ironically, responsible for removing about 75 billion tons of topsoil around the world annually. The American share of that is almost 7 billion tons. Farming exposes topsoil to wind and rain when vegetation is cleared for new acreage, as well as when plows work the field, loosening the soil.

Going Deep
Mining activities remove trees, plants and topsoil from an area. Unprotected, the earth is open to the elements, and wind and rain erode the land. Strip mining is especially harmful because it moves large chunks of land to reach the coal beneath. Developers sometimes blast sections of mountains, exposing even more vulnerable earth.

The Problem Builds
If appropriate steps are not taken, construction practices cause erosion. Soil is exposed when areas are cleared for building, and storm water runoff carries sediment to lakes, rivers and streams. In many parts of the United States, regulations require construction areas larger than 5 acres to have erosion-control plans, such as silt fences and straw bales to reduce runoff.

Getting Hotter
Humans contribute to global warming, and global warming contributes to erosion. The burning of coal, oil and gas is responsible for most of the climate change. Storms are increasing in frequency and severity, washing away soil. This is especially apparent in coastal areas, where hurricanes and typhoons wear away coastlines and destroy habitats.”


Dust Monitoring Equipment – providing equipment, services and training in dust fallout management to the mining industry.

What Speeds Up Erosion?

Impact of Covid-19 on mining

Two articles on the impact that the Covid-19 pandemic could have on diamond and platinum mining.

Please follow the links to read the articles at source.


20 APRIL 2020
Impact of Covid-19 on the diamond market

Impact of Covid-19 on the diamond market

“According to leading diamond producer Alrosa, 2020 started well for the diamond sector, citing improved customer sentiment across key markets for diamond jewellery, a recovery in prices for polished diamonds and that sales were ‘quite robust’ in December and January.

However, the initial outbreak of Covid-19 led to a fall in demand from the Chinese market, which is reported to account for 15% of global demand. The spread of the virus in China and ensuing quarantine measures meant the majority of jewellery stores were closed for around two months.

Diamond sales
Given the spread of the virus, quarantines and declining economic conditions, it was inevitable that demand for luxury items such as diamonds would fall. In early March, De Beers, the world’s second-largest producer, reported a 28% year-on-year decline in sales, at $355m down from $496m in 2019, during its second sales cycle of 2020 as Covid-19 impacted the Chinese market. This compared with $551 in the first sales cycle of 2020, with 12 sales cycles in a year.

There have been additional challenges for sales. Since the virus has spread to other parts of the world, limitations on travel are impacting sales events, with, for example, De Beers, cancelling a sales event, its third ‘sight’ of the year, due to take place
from 30 March to 3 April. The company advised it was “enabling Sightholders to defer 100% of their Sight 3 allocations to later in the year, and will continue to seek innovative ways to meet Sightholders’ rough diamond supply needs in the coming
weeks”. It has also closed stores in London, Paris, US, Canada, Russia, Kazakhstan, Malaysia and Saudi Arabia until further notice.

Alrosa is looking at the option of online trade as global travel restrictions make the usual physical inspection of diamonds almost impossible. In its Q1 results, released on 16 April, the company reported a mixed quarter for sales. Total rough and polished diamond revenues in Q1 2020 were $904.2m, down 10% year-on-year, although this was due to much lower revenues in March, at $153m, compared with $377m in March 2019. January and February 2020 together were $751m, 19.8% higher than the corresponding period in 2020. Sales volumes also fell year-on-year in the quarter, down by 11% from 10,592k carats in Q1 2019 to 9,421k carats in Q1 2020.

Diamond production in 2020 is being affected by operating restrictions in many countries. South Africa, for example, initially entered into a lockdown for three weeks from 26 March, but this has now extended to the end of April. In Quebec, on 24
March, the government suspended mining as a non-essential service, and while it has permitted mines to recommence from 15 April, Stornoway Diamond’s Renard mine, the province’s only diamond mine, will remain in care and maintenance.

Elsewhere, mines across Lesotho, Namibia, Zimbabwe, India and other parts of Canada are on hold due to lockdowns or, in some cases proactive steps. For example, in Northwest Territories in Canada, Dominion Diamond Mines suspended operations at its Ekati mine in mid-March, to avoid the spread of the coronavirus.
Overall mines that would otherwise account for over 16% of the world’s diamond output in 2020 are on hold.

Alrosa is one of the least affected, with no lockdowns in Russia, although the company is undertaking a wide range of measures to minimise the potential spread of the virus. The company, which is the world’s largest producer, reported a year-on-year increase of 2.5% in Q1 2020, due to increasing production at the Jubilee pipe and at the Aikhal and international underground mines. Latest guidance is for production of 34.2m carats in 2020, which would be an 11% decline on 2019’s 38.485m carats, although only marginally lower than its pre-Covid guidance of 34.2m carats.

Likewise, De Beers is not expected to be significantly impacted. Its initial guidance was for 32m-34m carats in 2020, up from 30.8m carats in 2019, with an update expected when the company releases its Production Report for Q1 2020 on 23 April. The majority of its diamond production is in Botswana, where mining activities have not been forced to close, although a 28-day lockdown has been imposed. South Africa and Namibia together accounted for 12% of total production in 2019 and, despite the widespread lockdowns in South Africa, Anglo American announced its Venetia diamond mine would continue operations, albeit at 75% of the workforce.

Overall expectations for 2020 diamond production before the outbreak were for a slight reduction on 2019 output, down by 1.5% from 145m carats in 2019. Rio Tinto’s guidance was 12m-14m carats versus 17m carats in 2019 with the Argyle mine entering its final year of production, while in Q4 2019 Alrosa was already advising of production of 34.3m carats for 2020, a reduction of over 4m carats. However, with more limited production due to mines entering care and maintenance or operating at reduced capacity, initial expectations are for production to fall to 133m carats, a decline of 9%. Should lockdowns continue or the market deteriorate further, then an even more significant decrease is expected.”


South African lockdown another dent to global platinum production

21 APRIL 2020
South African lockdown another dent to global platinum production

“The 21-day lockdown that has commenced across South Africa’s mining sector will particularly impact the global supply of platinum and other PGMs. However, with declining demand from the autocatalyst and jewellery sectors, platinum prices remain under pressure.

From midnight on 26 March, all but a few of South Africa’s 239 operating mines were put on care and maintenance for three weeks in a bid to stem the spread of COVID-19 across the country. Only a small number of thermal coal mines remain in operation in order to feed the country’s coal-fired power generation.

To date, South Africa has not been too badly affected by the pandemic.

As of 26 March, there were just over 700 cases, including only one at a mine site, according to the Minerals Council of South Africa, and also no deaths to date. However, the government recognises the true threat the virus poses and has made the most significant step to affect the mining sector globally by choosing to a 21-day lockdown.

South Africa is the dominant producer of platinum globally, accounting for over 70% of the total production. By freezing production for 21 days, it effectively reduces the global supply for the year by 4%, around 250koz. Production in 2020 was already forecast to decline due to lower output from Anglo American Platinum. The company reported an explosion at its Anglo Converter Plant at the Waterval smelter in Rustenberg in February, which will take until Q2 2021 to be repaired. As a result, guidance for 2020 was reduced from 2-2.2Moz to 1.5-1.7Moz for platinum.

Previously, in 2019, production had fallen by 1%. This was despite increased production from leading producers such as Anglo American Platinum and Sibanye-Stillwater, which acquired Lonmin during the year, with their increases being offset by declines elsewhere such as at Implats.

Demand for platinum is highest in the autocatalyst sector where it is used in diesel vehicles, however, following the dieselgate scandal in late 2015, demand for platinum in this segment has been falling steadily, down by 16% overall between 2016 and 2019. An opposite trend has been seen for palladium, which has benefited from stricter emission laws in Europe and China, which have prompted car manufactures to produce more petrol and fewer diesel vehicles.

The COVID-19 outbreak is having a significant impact on the automotive sector, with the widespread temporary closure of plants and, as of 24 March, GlobalData was predicting a decline in sales of light vehicles of over 15% for 2020. Thus any impact on platinum output of the 21-day lockdown would be expected to be more than counteracted by the decline in demand from the automotive sector.

Sales of platinum jewellery are also expected to decline in 2020, continuing the downward trend since 2014.

The price of platinum experienced a steep decline from over $1,000/oz on 19 February to $608/oz on 22 March, but this was halted by the announcement of the lockdown, with prices rising to $735/oz on 26 March. However, with a rising surplus expected this year and ongoing temporary shutdowns of auto manufacturing to contain the spread of the coronavirus, platinum prices are expected to remain under pressure”


Dust Monitoring Equipment – providing equipment, services and training in dust fallout management to the mining industry.

Impact of Covid-10 on mining