Lessons learned during LIAMforum 2023, and to examine next steps that matter to young people and action items going forward, covering sustainability, values-driven career opportunities in the sector and the associated research, innovation & technology ecosystems associated with sustainable resource development, peer-to-peer networking, mentoring, best-of-class innovative government programs, and other relevant initiatives.
Concluding keynote and discussion with Canada’s Minister of Energy and Natural Resources and LIAMforum participants, examining challenges, opportunities and possible initiatives.
It is often said that to succeed in life, it not what you know but who you know. While knowledge, of course, matters, developing one’s own network will help broaden one’s views and help accelerate personal and professional growth. Today, reaching out and connecting with someone anywhere on this planet is easier than ever. In this panel, individuals, representatives from industry and organizations with ample experience on the subject will offer advice and tips on building networks and leveraging them to help attain personal goals.
In the complex and challenging world we live in, it may be tempting not to act due to “paralysis by analysis” or because issues loom too large. However, positive action is indeed possible. RESOLVE is a Washington, D.C. based NGO that helps forge sustainable solutions to critical social, health, and environmental challenges by creating innovative partnerships where they are least likely and most needed. In this session one of their initiatives, Regeneration, is examined with the expectation that Forum participants may contribute their thoughts and perhaps help launch new ones:
It targets legacy sites, those closed and managed by operating mining companies, where its goal is to exceed closure commitments, and abandoned, orphaned mine sites.
In order to secure the minerals needed to make the world greener and more sustainable, rocks need to be crushed and the resulting fine material further processed. Once valuable minerals have been extracted, the question arises as to what to do with the remaining materials? Traditionally, they were deposited in tailing ponds, often employing tall dams. Today, as a result of the justified blowback from tailing dam failures and the quest for more sustainable solutions, exciting innovation is taking place in labs and in the field. Often, what was viewed as waste not so long ago, has become a valuable resource. Tailings are treated to extract valuable minerals, including rare earths, and waste rock has been found to naturally absorb CO2. Ways are being found to reduce water use and recycle more of it. These advances help enhance sustainability and conservation in sectors beyond mining, benefitting agriculture, urban ecosystems and nature as a whole. White-coat types, women and men, such as metallurgists, process engineers and environmental geoscientists are literally helping save the world, and often having fun doing so.
Youth in remote communities live a different reality from their peers in large urban areas and are faced with unique challenges and opportunities. In today’s rapidly changing world, young people will seek to move to places that offer better possibilities for personal growth. With appropriate conditions in place, and with relevant opportunities being communicated effectively, young people in remote areas, such as in Canada’s North, will be more likely remain and play a key role in the sustainable development of resources. A natural fit. Is society taking appropriate steps to engage with youth and empower them? What initiatives could be undertaken by regional and national governments in collaboration with the natural resources sector? What training and career opportunities are available today, and will be in the future?
In a rapidly changing work environment, amidst profound changes in the economy, navigating one’s way forward, alone, can be challenging. On this panel we unpack what it means to have a mentor or a champion, and how to go about finding one (or more). The process provides a sounding board and helps enhance one’s network. The reality is that mentoring is a dynamic two-way street offering a double win, as mentors learn as much, if not more, from their mentees. Organizations, companies and society at large are much enriched by the mentoring process.
The deforested and degraded forest areas in the Amazon biome cover approximately 2 million km², that is, around one-third of the Amazon forest has suffered or continues to suffer some type of human disturbance. It is estimated that more than 870,000 km² of primary forests have been cleared in the Amazon biome since 1985, an area larger than the territories of France, United Kingdom and Belgium combined. The main driver of forest loss in the Amazon is the expansion of the agricultural frontier and the conversion of forests for agricultural uses, mostly pastures and the production of commodities such as soybeans and oil palms. We must also respect and protect the Amazon’s indigenous peoples. Forest restoration is urgently needed to reconnect Amazonian ecosystems, as is restoring biodiversity and ecological function to as close as possible to the remaining forest. One of the challenges in helping preserve and restore the Amazon is that it falls under eight jurisdictions: Brazil, Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador, Guyana, Peru, Suriname and Venezuela, and the French overseas territory of French Guiana. What restoration and reforestation initiatives could governments take to protect the Amazon? Is it possible to reverse the damage done? Does the international community have a responsibility to help in this effort? What role could research institutions play in formulating implementable policies?
Gen Zs want to see a better, fairer, cleaner and more sustainable world become reality. But just wishing it will not move the needle. Action is required. In this panel we bring together institutions, such as incubators and accelerators, where Gen Zs could go with their ideas, or join young companies that are advancing great ideas, and help turn them into reality. The toughest part of a journey is often the first step. By familiarizing themselves with the innovation ecosystem, Gen Zs will gain confidence to act and get involved, get noticed and become part of the innovation ecosystem that is, at this very moment, advancing many spectacular (and often surprising) initiatives that will, without a doubt, help make the world a better place.
The natural resources sector is failing to attract interest from Gen Zs and younger cohorts. Traditional sector-linked programmes, such as geology and mining engineering, are failing to attract the number new entrants the mining industry needs. This is a problem that faces the natural resources sector across the board. Current recruitment and talent pipelines will not suffice to meet demand. Under these circumstances, will the sector be able to attract the personnel to lead the transition towards a net-zero carbon economy? Is the sector making progress in terms of understanding the shifting attitudes and aspirations of Gen Zs and younger generations, to better get the message across? What initiatives, programmes and incentives are industry, governments and the educational/training sector relying upon to tackle this critical issue? Could the natural resources sector emulate initiatives from other sectors?