Message from the Director – The power of networks

More than 1600 participants from over 50 countries have now participated in 65 IM4DC short courses, workshops and study tours since IM4DC was established in October 2011. IM4DC alumni make up a potentially powerful network of current and emerging leaders in all facets of mining for development. Our work in supporting developing countries to build sustainable minerals and energy sectors goes further than simply running courses, however. It also includes partnerships with institutions, research into mining and development issues, fellowships to facilitate experiential learning and collaborations, publications on Australian practice and advisory services for governments.

Within the integrated program of IM4DC, our Alumni Forum, M4DLink, is also a vital tool for achieving effective and sustainable outcomes. M4DLink is an active online community where Mining for Development Alumni, faculty, and experts can collaborate with peers to influence policy and effect change through networking, innovative problem-solving, and sharing expertise. The mining for development community of practice that M4DLink is enabling provides leadership across regions in driving change and fostering leading approaches. It encourages networks of practitioners from different countries and regions to share their experiences and to identify solutions to common challenges.

The relatively low level of engagement of women in mining and the disproportionate impact of mining on women and families are two key gender issues discussed in M4DLink and IM4DC courses and workshops. IM4DC is delighted to note – and support – the rise of Women in Mining networks around the world, most recently with WIMLATAM in Latin America, where both the industry and government are seeking ways to improve gender outcomes. I was privileged to participate in a Women in Mining UK event recently, where I was able to observe first-hand the interactions with women involved in mining in Africa.

The IM4DC Alumni Forum in Brisbane during July will enable sharing of insights and knowledge by Alumni from around the globe around the themes of Leadership. Collaboration. Governance. We hope that networking between Alumni will continue well beyond the forum.

During the next nine months, IM4DC will be organising alumni events in Ghana, Zambia, Indonesia, Peru and Mongolia to allow alumni in those focus countries to meet and share experiences. Networks supported or facilitated by IM4DC are key parts of the growing collaborations between nations to achieve positive, sustainable outcomes from development of minerals and energy.