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Barrick exit for Michelle Ash

Barrick Gold is restructuring its approach to innovation, decentralising it and sending it to the face, which has meant that chief innovation officer Michelle Ash’s role is no more.
Barrick exit for Michelle Ash Barrick exit for Michelle Ash Barrick exit for Michelle Ash Barrick exit for Michelle Ash Barrick exit for Michelle Ash

Michelle Ash is leaving her role as chief innovation officer at Barrick Gold.

Ash said on the sidelines of the AusIMM Global Mining Leaders 2018 conference in Western Australia that Barrick was going through a radical decentralisation process and as a result her role would be going.

She is unsure what her next role will be.

"My job, often, is to do myself out of a job," Ash said with a wry smile.

"We have good processes in place to enable that [decentralised innovation] to be managed.

"We have the culture right. We have the processes right.

"We've got sites to the point where they think about innovation.

"You want to try and get innovation as close to the operation as possible."

The idea behind that is to speed up the implementation process.

One of the key points at Global Mining Leaders reinforced by several of the speakers was that innovation, in and of itself, was pointless unless it was put in place and integrated into a mine's operations.

"It's in line with our chairman John Thornton's views on a decentralised model," Ash said.

"It's about making sure we develop the partnerships and give the operations the means to drive value."

Ash joined Barrick in 2016 and became chief innovation officer in December of that year.

Under Ash's watch Barrick held its first hackathon in March 2017.

It partnered with Australian company Unearthed to make that happen.

Ash's appointment at the time was considered fairly forward thinking and a sign of the new mining times with innovation and operational improvements very much top of mind.

Ash once said her team's role was to create great innovation processes and tools for Barrick's people to use.

*Noel Dyson is editor of