The Northern Territory is better known for its tongue-in-cheek tourism campaigns than it is for its mining industry. 

With an ever-increasing perceived value in strong marketing, many companies at the top of the food chain are undergoing inclusive makeovers. 

The resources sector has not traditionally been synonymous with overt branding, but the emergence of numerous renewed brand identities in the industry over the last few years suggests a changing perspective. 

The Ausdrill Group, now existing under the Perenti Global umbrella, is one of the latest in a succession of companies transforming their image. 

Perenti Global Group Managing Director Mark Norwell said the change signified an inevitable and exciting new direction for the group. 

“It’s an important step in culturally binding our businesses together under a common identity, and it supports our new aspiration, purpose and strategy,” he said. 

Mr Norwell said the company had “outgrown” its original name and now represented much more than just drilling. 

“The new name and brand will better reflect the company’s status as a diversified global provider of mining services,” he said. 

“It gives us a strong platform that will support the group’s strategic direction and future growth ambitions.” 

This realigned vision is represented by the company’s tagline, which has evolved from ‘Bringing More to Mining’ to ‘Expect More’, and acts as a pledge to its constituents. 

“For the group to achieve its aspiration and deliver its purpose we have to constantly raise the bar in everything we do,” Mr Norwell said. 

“Our stakeholders, whether they are customers, suppliers, employees or the communities we operate in, should expect more from us.” 

Perth management consultancy Brand Ideology developed the new brand, name and collateral, ensuring a cohesive vision across the group and its various sub-brands. The company plans to hold on to the Ausdrill name, citing its long and proud history, and will similarly retain Barminco, BTP, AMS and various other client-facing brands under the Perenti Global name. 

The perentie, a burrowing monitor lizard that thrives in isolated environments, acknowledges the company’s Western Australian heritage and is an apt avatar for a company that explores the earth. 

Other recently renovated brands include Intermin Resources becoming Horizon Minerals in July this year following its merger with MacPhersons Resources, and Chase Mining Corporation transitioning from TopTung in January. 

Speaking with National Mining Chronicle, Cannings Purple Managing Director Warrick Hazeldine said he believed marketing and branding went to the heart of building and maintaining a social license. 

“Companies need to act ethically, with a social purpose, and communicate that effectively through their marketing and their brand,” he said. 

Mr Hazeldine said it needed to be clear what a company stood for, along with its purpose. 

“What are your points of difference from your competitors,” he said. “Why would you work for one company over another? 

“Branding is more than a logo on a shirt. Ultimately, brand identity has to be a genuine perception of the company’s set of values – the societal value you create and the values your employees live.” 

Mr Hazeldine, who built Cannings Purple into a global communications agency and which recently took out the 2019 SABRE Awards Corporate/Financial Consultancy of the Year title, said it wasn’t enough to ‘stand for everything’ anymore. 

“People are disenfranchised with the system,” he said. “You need to demonstrate your specific values and then act in line with them. It stems from corporate culture all the way through to the perceptions in the communities in which you operate. 

“Strong reputations and strong brands go further.” 

Industry heavyweight BHP has demonstrated the power of a fresh face in recent times, taking out the prime position in Brand Finance’s Mining, Iron and Steel 25 league table for two consecutive years after dropping the Billiton from its name. The report ranks the 25 strongest mining and metals brands across the globe. 

Positioning itself as the world’s most valuable brand in mining, the company moved up from second place less than a year after its rebrand. 

According to Brand Finance, this marks a significant 51 per cent increase in brand value since 2017. BHP’s brand value now sits at $8.6 billion and boasts a “very strong” AA brand strength rating. 

The reveal of a rebranded BHP coincided with the launch of the highly successful ‘Think Big’ campaign, showcasing the Anglo-Australian multinational’s rich history and its position in addressing ‘global challenges’. 

This came off the back of the tragic dam collapse at the company’s joint-venture Samarco iron ore mine in Brazil in 2015. 

Brand Finance Head of Mining Practice Richard Haigh said throughout history, the sector had an “entrenched and conventional” view on how it should operate, resulting in reputation and brand being largely ignored. 

“The mining industry is having to embrace the global shifts,” he said. 

“In order to combat these shifts, and to ensure brands stay ahead of their competitors, companies within the resources sector are embracing global branding matters.” 

Mr Hazeldine said he believed the renewed focus on brand strategy was to build companies that people wanted to work for, and to position the resources sector as an attractive career choice for leading talent. 

He emphasised the importance of targeting the emerging class of ‘lime-collar worker’, the green-leaning, white-collar worker he believed was integral to the sector’s future. 

The sector needed to attract these environmentally and socially conscious professionals away from other industries, he said, referencing decreased engagement from new graduates. 

“This is a real and pressing issue – there has been a substantial decline in mining-related university enrolments – in some cases down 80 per cent over the last five years?– despite growing iron ore prices, a strong gold market, opportunities in automation and robotics and a once-in-a- generation opportunity regarding lithium,” he said. 

Mr Hazeldine said it was consistency and accountability that forged the strongest identities. 

“Good branding won’t make a bad company good, but good branding can make a good company better,” he said. 

“And you see that more and more, not just in the mining sector.” 

 

When Canada’s Novo Resources Chairman and President Dr Quinton Hennigh moderated a live satellite broadcast from the Pilbara at the Denver Gold Forum at Colorado Springs in 2017, he ignited somewhat of a gold rush. 

With an estimated 40 million people engaged in artisanal and small-scale mining (ASM) globally, the much maligned and somewhat hidden industry has a significant impact on the global mining economy.

 

Raising the bar for minesite accommodation, BHP proved it was focused on the bigger picture when it unveiled its revamped Mulla Mulla village for fly-in, fly-out (FIFO) workers last month, located 130km north-west of Newman in Western Australia. 

When the Queensland Government legislated the management of fly-in, fly-out workforce arrangements in 2017, it underscored a long simmering debate in Australia’s large mining states over the obligations of miners to the regional communities they operate in and near. 

 

In the face of mounting regulations and drawn out approvals processes, the mining industry has doubled down on its calls to slash red tape and allow more investment to flow into the sector. 

Earlier this year the Australian gold price tipped over the $2000 mark for the first time in its history, signifying a growing sense of con dence in the commodity.

As the United States and China continue their trade war, the latter’s ‘real and present threat’ to stifle the global rare earths supply chain has Australian miners hopeful a crisis will bring about new opportunities.

While excitement around Western Australia’s burgeoning battery minerals sector continues to gain momentum, analysts have warned local industry against a gung-ho approach to downstream processing.

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