CEO, Blackthorn Resources Ltd
Master of Business Administration (1992)
Scott Lowe needed all of his professional experience, gathered during a career spanning three continents, when he took over the helm of Blackthorn Resources in 2008. He was a newly appointed CEO, but more importantly, he had taken over a company just as the global financial crisis was crippling markets across the globe. As this market trend gathered speed it was his responsibility to steer Blackthorn Resources through several tumultuous years.
Blackthorn Resources is an Australian mineral resources and mining company with a diverse portfolio of base and precious metal projects throughout Africa. They are currently concentrating their efforts in Zambia (Copper-Gold) and Burkina Faso (Zinc), and are listed on the Australian Securities Exchange.
Scott’s professional career begins more than twenty years before when he was working as a young cadet with BHP (as it was known then) in Wollongong. A Faculty of Engineering student, Scott concedes his first year at University wasn’t the best he could do, “I didn’t fully apply myself in my first year at UOW and as a result wasn’t proud of my first year results”. It wasn’t until he recognised the opportunity he was receiving, from both UOW and BHP as part of his cadetship, that he applied himself. After completing his tertiary studies in coal mining and gaining statutory qualifications in coal mine management, his hard work was rewarded with BHP sponsoring him a few years later so he could complete his Masters of Business Administration.
Scott repaid this company confidence by working for BHP for over twenty years. During this time he was appointed Vice President Operations for Ingwe in South Africa, Vice President HSEC for BHP Billiton's global Energy Coal businesses and General Manager Business Development & Operating Excellence in Illawarra Coal. He has also worked as General Manager for Peabody Coal.
He continued his professional experience by accepting a Vice President level position with P&O that had global responsibilities across many complex business and cultural environments, and involved studying Maritime Logistics at the Kings Point Merchant Marine Academy in New York. It was during his three years at P&O, away from the industry he had come to know intimately, that he realised he was attracted to the complexity and challenge of the mining industry. He recognised the importance of stakeholders in the mining process – from financial institutions to government officials and of course employees and the community, but very importantly, the shareholders.
It was these stakeholders he had in mind when he took on his latest position. He had to make some very hard and far reaching decisions as the new CEO of Blackthorn. He felt they were necessary in order to steer the company through the GFC and drew on his knowledge of financial analysis, learnt from his Master of Business Administration, to make these decisions. Based on Scott’s two part strategy, Blackthorn Resources successfully weathered the financial storm and has come out the other side in a solid financial position.
His advice to young graduates looking to work in the Mining industry is simple, “It’s not just about the certificate on your wall, it’s about how you apply it to do your job”. He is in favour of getting additional qualifications on top of an undergraduate degree and promotes working in many different disciplines to increase your experience, “Don’t be afraid to go sideways a few times before you go up the ladder. This experience will definitely help as you progress through different positions”.