Building a Digital Gold Mining StartUp
With Peter, a FIRMSconsulting Case Coaching Alum, and his family, we will help them take over a decommissioned, lower-yield gold mine and bring it on stream to profitability by using a digital process to engage the workforce to increase profitability.
This will require significant implementation skills.
Mining is a tough, messy and unforgiving business.
Rolling out a digital strategy is a lot harder with an illiterate workforce.
We will deploy an unusual business model to run a mine long abandoned for its low yields.
This is the 3rd business we are co-founding to demonstrate how a strategy partners’ thinking would guide a start-up. Yet, unlike the Luxury Brands Digital Start-Up with Tati, or the Electric Car Start Up with Peter, this is an old-school industry where we will be deploying significant digital capabilities to wring out efficiencies in a highly labor intensive sector.
All programs teach valuable lessons that we do not repeat. So you should watch them all.
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We will capture all our steps, insights, analyses and lessons and you can follow us along. Our goal is to teach you to think the way ex-strategy partners do, introduce you to advanced problem solving skills and teach you how to build a business, or work inside a high-tech business in a brutally competitive space.
You will see the process is disciplined in its thinking, but messier than a consulting engagement.
Deep in a thriving emerging markets economy, we are partnering with a client’s family to take over and bring on-stream a decommissioned gold mine. Like the Electric Car Startup, Building an Innovation Practice and the Digital Luxury Brands Atelier, you can follow the entire journey via detailed episodes outlining the entire process: every meeting, every challenge, every tactic, every obstacle, the finances and the implementation of our strategy.
This is one of 4 businesses we co-own and are co-developing with clients to teach you, our loyal and valued Insiders, how it can be done.
Mining is a tough business requiring critical decisions that are hard to reverse. Should the mine be mechanized or mined with a labor-intensive process? Mines are typically in under-developed parts of the world so the miner must decide what role to play in developing the local community. Should it play a role?
Implementation, for those of you following our McKinsey Implementation Program, requires teaching workers the tools to identify and roll out changes to the business. We will have to figure out a way to empower a workforce that is largely illiterate, lacking in basic services like healthcare and operating under harsh conditions.
How do we strike a balance between enabling a humane working environment and the reality of a very harsh operating theater where fatalities are a common occurrence? Do we merely obey local rules and regulations or hold ourselves to higher and costly western standards?
Do we make the common mistake of merely mining the gold and sending it to foreign countries for refining and beneficiation? The latter being the step where the most value is created in using gold within advanced products like memory chips and equipment for the space program.
Can we do all of this and still make a profit? Find out if we can.
Most digital strategies rely on a highly educated labor-force to understand and use digital technologies. We will be using digital capabilities in a different way. We have to find a way to help and support a labor force which has close to 90% illiteracy and create smart digital solutions to empower them, motivate them and support them as they pursue an ambitious plan to bring the mine online.
A mine that has long ago been abandoned due to his low yields and increasing fatalities.
The digital solutions will not be rolled out in nice air-conditioned offices with easy access to the IT team if a server fails or an App breaks down. The crew will be deep underground working under extremely challenging conditions at high temperatures, dust, moisture, deafening sound, and incredibly high risks. Taking out one’s phone to use an App one cannot read and understand, that fails to load or takes too long to load can lead to fatalities.
This brings a whole new dimension to a digital strategy.
It would be a good idea to watch this program to gain a sense of the implementation challenges we will face: https://www.strategytraining.com/implementing-an-operations-strategy
Disclosure: When we admit clients to this program, Firmsconsulting assumes a controlling equity stake in the business, though we are not investors.
We work with ex-partners of McKinsey, BCG et al to teach you critical thinking, strategy, operations, and implementation skills. We teach you how to apply their skills. We teach you to apply those skills within case interviews. We teach you how to apply those skills to solve complex consulting assignments. We teach you how to apply those partner skills to transform your career. These startup programs continue the theme of teaching you to apply the analytic and problem-solving skills of partners to set up and build businesses, be it a startup or building an existing business within a large company. We are always teaching you to apply those skills.