by Sharon Jones
In this digital age, most entrepreneurs flitter in and out of different ideas all of which surf the internet in some form or another, desperately clutching onto the hope there is another dotcom idea that can be sold for hundreds of millions, if not billions. WhatsApp ($19 billion), Motorola Mobility ($12.5 billion), Skype ($8.5 billion), Tumblr ($1.5 billion) and the list goes on and on and on. The point is: the digital world is a distracting one for entrepreneurs desperate to make a huge amount and then retire at 28 years old. But the best ideas and opportunities aren’t always exclusively reserved to the online world. Not at all. In fact, of all the businesses we recommend you try and start, the one that is disrupting the physical world more than any other right now is mining.
You’ve probably never considered it. You might not have even thought it was a plausible, feasible or worthwhile option. But it turns out those who have decided to run with this sort of business have been reaping the rewards over recent years, laughing all the way to the bank as the rest of the world overlooks them, keeping their attention on the digital space instead.
Anyway, the reason so many people don’t dare take their entrepreneurial spirit and step into the world of mining probably has a lot to do with misconceptions. There is a misconception that starting a mining business requires a lot of capital and a lot of intensity to make it come to fruition. But that’s not the case. Not at all. In fact, there are loads of opportunities in this sector and that’s what we are going to delve into on your behalf.
So, without further ado, here’s why and how you can start making waves in the world of mining. Yeehaw.
1. Opportunities For The Starting Smallers
One of the trickiest parts of this industry, and one that can infuriate even the most patient of people is the fact you probably won’t be able to head straight into a well-known mining region, put shovel to soil and start digging for minerals. It’s just not the way the cookie crumbles. But don’t let that stop you from making headway, in which we recommend you try offering something else entirely; services like mining consultancy, temporary development assistance, transportation solutions, brokerage management, financial consulting, machine sales, risk assessment services, power supply, equipment leasing, software and technology, safety services or, yup, we’re going to say it, even data mining (which plays a big role these days). What you will find is a lot of mining companies will happily consider coughing up for your services, especially if you get the basics spot on and have your legal documentation in the right place. The mining companies that have been around for a while and have made a place for themselves tend to handle huge financial transactions, which is why they need to do business with third parties and suppliers. That’s a great way in.
2. Use Intuition To Climb The Ranks
There aren’t any shortcuts in business, but if you want to be successful in the mining game then you need to knuckle down and do a lot of research. Loads. And a big chunk of that is getting specific mining knowledge, to the level where you can hold your own in any conversation, something you will want to do with anyone you already know that does business in the industry, and do it real fast. Speak to anyone you can from registration stage to the selling minerals part, whether they are local or overseas. It’s also imperative you research what licenses, documentation and exportation files you will need because most mined products are exported.
Of course, if you don’t intend to drill directly yourself, a good place to start in this industry is to contact different mining companies and probe around for the sort of problems they face and then come up with some solutions for what you can do to help. It’s a great business to be in.
3. Equipment Is More Or Less Everything
In order to operate at any level (on the mining front), every mining company needs to have loads and loads and loads of equipment. It’s the only way to function properly and effectively, which makes it one of the biggest obstacles for anyone who wants to start-up a mining business. The point is: You cannot possibly mine for minerals if you don’t have the tools to do it or the third-parties to help you. We’re talking about things like drills, industrial pumps, construction vehicles, heavy haulage transport, quarry equipment and more, of which none of it is that cheap. So, while you need to accept there is a lot you need to purchase, you also need to make sure you don’t go over budget and ruin your chances of survival before you’ve even got started.
4. Skilled Employees Are Your Key To Success
There isn’t a business out there that has made it without hiring skilled and talented people. They’re the real heroes, the ones that bring your dreams to life and help everything come together. This is the same with a mining company. The only difference is, you’ll need lots of them. Not one or two or three, but lots. You’ll need employees that are proficient when it comes to doing the manual labour jobs, mining for materials and shifting them to wherever they need to go, but you will also need experienced employees on the other side of the business. Those who are switched on when it comes to business dealings and, trust us, there can be no exceptions on this front. Of course, with the hiring of employees, comes expense. It’s offering them accommodation while on site, constructing offices for your staff to manage all the admin work, complete orders and contact clients, and then representatives to get out there and build relationships - long lasting relationships. There are no two ways about it: to start a mining business, you need to get your hands on all the equipment and then hire top-notch employees.
5. Don’t Compromise On Health & Safety
Mining is about as hands-on as any industry can ever be. It’s getting into the thick of it, getting dirt under your fingernails, blisters on your hands and working alongside some of the most monstrously big machinery this side of Avatar’s Pandora. As such, it’s not possible to overemphasize the importance of occupational health and safety in this industry. It’s that thing that can make or break your business before you ever have time to correct the rudder. You just cannot take your employees health and safety for granted in this game, not for a microsecond. As such, you need to add a chapter into your business plan that reads: invest in all the right training and all the best equipment. It’s the only way to make absolutely sure your employee's lives are protected at all times, whether they are on or off-site. Once again, if you are not quite ready to launch your own direct-mining business, a great way in is to provide health and safety gear and training for those already established in the mining industry.
6. A Lot Of Reward For Your Efforts
In terms of making a big profit, there aren’t many businesses that can boast quite the same opportunities and success stories as the mining industry. What’s more, if you get it right, strike lucky and have your pipelines set up, you can turn a profit very, very fast. This is because some resources can be mined for not a lot of money while selling for buckets of cash, which is the approach you want to delve into. It’s about knowing what minerals are in high-demand, where the future is heading and what the market seems to be buying at a high price. Once you have this knowledge, all you need to do is mine these minerals and then sell them to those with their hands out. Minerals like gold and iron ore are both easy to mine and selling for big money. Of course, they aren’t the future. Those are minerals like aluminium, barium, chromite, coltan, copper, dolomite, feldspar, gallium, germanium, halite, indium, lead, lithium, manganese, mercury, mica, nickel, quartz, silicon, silver, sulphite, tantalum, tin, tungsten, uranium and zinc. But physically digging into the earth’s crust isn’t the only way to make a big buck. The services and equipment needed to run a successful mining business also provide huge opportunities. In fact, there are hundreds of businesses who don’t do any drilling for minerals that are turning over healthy profits from just selling and leasing the equipment mining companies need.
Yes, the digital world seems to be churning out a huge amount of success stories and news articles, but there isn’t something shallow in the way it is achieved, something that the mining world has plenty of - adventure. Mining can take you to so many different places. You won’t be stuck in the same location, doing the same thing, reciting the words: just another day. It’s that step up from boring office work that can really make you money.