CEO Leadership Speaker Q&A: Mike Young, Managing Director & CEO, Vimy Resources
To start our CEO Leadership Lunch Series in 2020, Austmine is pleased to be hosting Mike Young, Managing Director & CEO, Vimy Resources in
Perth on Thursday 11 February.
Resources is a Perth-based uranium development
company with two major projects. They 100% own and operate the Mulga Rock
Project in the Great Victoria Desert of Western Australia, which released a DFS
in January 2018, confirming the Project’s robust financials and simple,
low-cost mining process. They also own 78%
of the Alligator River Project in Arnhem Land, Northern Territory. The
Alligator River Uranium Province is a world-class uranium area and one of
the top three uranium districts in the world.
It is host to the Ranger and Jabiluka deposits.
Austmine caught up with
Mike who provided some of his thoughts on leadership, current industry
challenges, Vimy Resources’ projects and how uranium is the key to mining a
“You have to do the
job because you love it. And it’s about
surrounding yourself with people who are better at what they do than you are;
key people who share your vision.”
Effective leadership requires
a strong connection with your team, taking the time to consult and listen. So that when you make those important decisions,
the team feels they’ve contributed rather than just taking orders.
“If someone says,
they work for me, I prefer to say instead, ‘no, you work WITH me’. I don’t like
the boss-employee structure because I prefer a more inclusive leadership style.”
Mike has kept key
leadership values at the heart of Vimy Resources, naming the company after a famous
Canadian WW1 battle. The Battle of Vimy
Ridge was characterised by unity, co-operation, ingenuity, preparation,
planning, flexibility and courage – values that have underpinned Vimy’s
achievements. The name is also a nod to
Mike’s Canadian heritage, and ancestry - he was born and educated in Canada and
worked on uranium projects in Saskatchewan before coming to Australia in the
Current Industry Challenges
There are quite diverse
challenges facing Australian miners in 2020, including project approval
timelines and issues around social perception.
One of the biggest challenges
facing mining companies in Western Australia is the timeline for approvals and for
Vimy Resources this has been a longer process which isn’t getting any shorter,
according to Mike. He is advocating for less complexity, more transparency and
accountability in the approvals process.
While social licence is
increasingly important for mining companies as we move into the 2020s, there is
still a lack of awareness on just how vital mining is to modern life. As a Board
member of the Minerals Council of Australia, Mike strongly supports the MCA’s
focus on how mining provides the resources for modern life, technology and
business. He was recently involved in their excellent 30 Things booklet, which illustrates the everyday things that mining
“There’s a negative
view of the mining industry in some areas of the Australian community, which
overlooks the industry’s role in providing essential aspects of all our lives –
energy, transport, infrastructure and medicine – the things without which any modern
society simply could not function.”
Mining a Cleaner Tomorrow
Mike emphasises that uranium’s
potential to play a significant role in clean energy supply is becoming a major
topic of discussion in the current climate change debate.
“Uranium is a safe,
clean 24/7 power source with zero carbon emissions and is set to shape the energy
landscape of the future.”
Nuclear energy has been
around for six decades and is a proven, safe source of power. Australia is currently the world’s third
largest exporter of uranium, despite having the world’s largest share of
uranium resources. Nuclear energy
provides just over 10 per cent of the world’s electricity and last year
resulted in about 2.2 billion tonnes of CO2, as well as particulate
pollution, not being released into the atmosphere.
“The amount of CO2
we would offset by replacing coal with uranium is 13% of all of Australia’s
emissions. It is now widely accepted
that without nuclear energy, we will not meet the IPCC and COP greenhouse gas
Nuclear is the only energy-producing technology that takes full
responsibility for its own waste products. Mike quotes a fact from the US Nuclear Energy
Institute, that all the used fuel produced by the commercial nuclear industry
since the late 1950s would cover a soccer field to a depth of less than ten
metres. Coal plants generate that same amount of waste every hour.
“The amount of waste produced is infinitesimally small because the
power density of uranium is incredibly high.”
Vimy Resources Projects
Innovation has long been at the forefront of mining in Western
Australia. Power generation is an area that may benefit from advanced technology
and the company could look towards solar or wind power sources, something Mike
finds amusingly ironic.
“Solar and/or wind farms are ideal on a remote site having a
proven benefit in terms of cost and, importantly, also reducing the need to transport
diesel fuel. Vimy has also invested significant time and effort in perfecting the
resin technology used in the ion exchange circuit.”
For anyone interested in learning more about uranium, the MCA has
some fantastic resources on uranium and nuclear power including their recently
released Untapped Potential and The
Case For Nuclear Power booklet.
At the upcoming Austmine CEO
Leadership Lunch hosted at Ashurst,
Mike will be speaking about leadership opportunities and challenges, including
mental health. He will also let us in on
the secret of the one thing that keeps him awake at night.
CEO Leadership Lunch Series
Leadership Lunch series are exclusive events run for senior executives from our
member companies. These lunches are limited to 30 attendees and involve a sit-down
meal followed by a presentation from a senior mining executive.
Speakers share their
own perspective and experiences as successful leaders in the mining industry
and discuss industry challenges with attendees. As such, these events are an
unparalleled opportunity for senior METS representatives to meet and share
ideas with fellow mining & METS leaders.
For more information
about the upcoming Austmine CEO Leadership Lunch featuring VIMY Resources,