Mining Agenda: Accenture calls for Triple Zero

Chasing the "holy grail" in the mining industry's transformation

Ngaire McDiarmid

Accenture's resources lead Ann Burns acknowledges one of the three aims in the Triple Zero concept is seen as the "holy grail" for the mining industry.

She talks about the Triple Zero concept akin to a north star, as a guide for the mining industry's transformation efforts, focusing on zero loss, zero harm and zero waste.

In this podcast, Burns outlines priorities for miners to achieve the zero she has dubbed the "holy grail".

"For me the prize is really clear - our analysis shows a 1-2% increase in equipment efficiency improvement can result in a billion-dollar value case for a single mining operation, so why wouldn't you do it?" she asks.

Burns has taken an unusual path to become resources lead for Australia and New Zealand, having started off as an architect - a goal she had since she was little.

"For me, it was the perfect balance of left and right brain thinking and I always saw things in my mind as ‘pictures', often in 3D. And still do," she said.

"After qualifying as an architect, I did all sorts of roles on a graduate programme across sales, international business development and even HR/Talent.

"I enjoyed all of them but wanted to stretch myself and was looking for something else.

"I was lucky enough to get into an MBA course as I had no business experience per se, at all. My peers on the MBA were all well versed in all things commercial and I learnt quickly to ‘raise my game'.

"After a while I figured out my first love was business strategy and I was very keen to find a new role in a strategy practice for a global company.

"I interviewed and was offered many roles but chose Accenture as they offered me an incredible adventure to come to Australia.

 "I arrived 25 years ago with two suitcases and a big ambition to explore the business world and of course in Australia, it's all about resources (energy, mining and utilities).

 "Everything in Australia is BIG and I love that the fact that the work we do can make a BIG impact as we help our clients transform and reinvent themselves."

 After more than 20 years with Accenture, in several different roles, Burns said she had never been bored.

"Our work is important and makes a difference to the way the world lives and works," she said.

"I see it every day in the work we do that creates jobs, enables communities to thrive, and enables Aussies and Kiwis enjoy a safe and prosperous life.

"Our clients are many and very diverse, the challenges change all the time with each new advent of technology and certainly with the waves of evolution in the industry.

"I like to invert the traditional models and listen to [the next generation's] thoughts on what the future looks like and how we can create ‘whitespace' and create new marketplaces that were just not possible."

She is also interested in cyber security and fascinated by the potential of DARQ technologies, as discussed in a recent podcast.

Away from work, Burns describes herself as a custodian of one of the nation's oldest Hill Station Gardens in Victoria's Mount Macedon, where she lives with her husband, dogs and chickens on a property which dates back to 1886.

"The original owner was an enthusiastic ‘plant hunter' and designed the garden for his wife and to impress his friends," she said.

"It's defined by very large trees from all over the world, some of which are very rare and we welcome visitors in spring and autumn to come and enjoy the garden with us.

"Gardening is our extreme ‘sport' when it's on 10 acres of manicured gardens!"

On the line …


Ann Burns, Accenture resources lead
Ann Burns leads Accenture's resources team for Australia and New Zealand. She joined the global management, consulting and professional services firm more than 20 years ago. She's worked with a diverse range of clients across Asia Pacific and says her real passion is in finding answers to the challenging questions that digital is asking. Prior to joining Accenture, Burns practised as an architect and worked in construction and international business development.

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