In today’s rapidly evolving world, the demand for critical minerals has reached unprecedented heights. Among the key players in this exciting industry is Battery Mineral Resources (BMR), a publicly listed company on the TSXV. Led by trailblazing CEO Max Satel, BMR is dedicated to the development and production of essential minerals like copper, cobalt, graphite, and lithium. With operations spanning the globe, BMR is poised to make a significant impact in meeting the growing needs of industries such as renewable energy, electric vehicles, and advanced technologies.
Our Senior Director of Project & Interim Services, Michael Cheung, recently sat down with Max to dive into what’s happening with BMR, discuss hiring in a challenging market and talk about career transitions.
Here’s the scoop on what’s happening with Battery Mineral Resources:
You’re building a fast-growing company in a really interesting space managing major capital projects and building a team that’s forging the way to sustainable growth for BMR. What are you currently working on right now?
We’ve got a number of key corporate objectives for the balance of 2023. Our primary objective as a company is to put back into production a mine that was formerly producing and generating revenue and substantial cash flow, and that is a copper-silver mine that we own in Chile. So mining really is a great place to work. It’s a great place to be an owner and operator of mining assets, and we look forward to putting that mine into production at some point this year.
What excites you most about working in the natural resource and battery minerals industry, and why are these projects so important?
I think there are a few points to be made there. First and foremost, we’re excited to be very much involved in the energy transition that is happening around the world, from various perspectives and in various industries. Certainly, critical minerals and minerals in general, we believe will play a very important role in affecting that transition on a timely basis.
We’ve seen some layoffs in the tech sector, but the natural resources industry is strong and the talent market is tight in Canada. Companies are competing for strong talent across the board, particularly in finance and accounting – what have you found to be the most challenging aspect of attracting and retaining talent these days?
That’s a good question. I think in terms of attracting people, you can split that into 2: attracting and retaining. In terms of attracting people, the environment that we’re currently in has certainly been challenging. We’re finding that candidates are showing a greater aversion to risk and maybe even job switching. Given that there’s a lot of talk about Canada being in or entering into a recession, people are perhaps a little bit more reluctant to make a career change than they would have been 6 or 12 months ago. We’ve found that when it comes to attracting qualified candidates, the pool of those candidates has shrunk.
I think in terms of the industry as a whole, the inflationary pressures and the resulting impact on wages and salaries have also had a great effect on budgets across the board. Then in terms of retention, there are many of the same issues that we’ve been dealing with for many years, and that is the ability to offer candidates an attractive compensation package, a clear and compelling path to professional growth within the organization, and really making that clear to people that it’s something they can accomplish within your firm.
You spent over a decade in investment banking, co-founded an advisory firm, and have led some significant corporate development initiatives with mining and natural resources at the forefront. As a seasoned professional that has continually reached new heights in your career, what advice would you give aspiring finance leaders?
In terms of advice, I would say to just pursue your passion. Be passionate about what you do, and hopefully, that comes naturally. If you’re not passionate about it, that may be a good time to take a look in the mirror and see if there’s something different that you should be doing that you are passionate about and pursue. But if your passion comes through, I think people see that and that’s a path to successful professional development and self-improvement. Eventually, that becomes apparent in your performance and end results, leading to upward promotion, greater responsibility and success.
Inquiring minds want to know, what are you watching/listening to right now?
I’ve got very little time for either of those things to be honest. I would say, the only thing I listen to with regularity is a podcast called Business Breakdowns. It’s a very interesting podcast on the fundamental drivers and economics of very different businesses. I find that you can learn a lot from listening and understanding key success factors of companies or businesses that are very different from your own.
Clarity has worked with Battery Mineral Resources and numerous hyper-growth companies investing in finance functions. If you’re trying to find the high-performing talent you need to build your finance and operations teams, we’re ready to help!