Meet the New Chair

Mark O’Brien, General Manager – Digital Technology and Innovation, CITIC Pacific

Mark O’Brien is General Manager for Digital Technology & Innovation (CIO) at CITIC Pacific Mining, Australia’s largest magnetite mining and processing operation. His experience in mining technology spans more than 30 years.

Mark was the Inaugural Chair of the GMG AI in Mining Working Group, Chair of the SAP Australia User Group (SAUG) Working Group on AI, as well as a regular contributor to national and international collaborations around mining technology. Alongside his board work, he provides advisory services on leadership, technology, AI, and cybersecurity.

He is currently undertaking PhD research in AI and Machine Ethics.

Why did you want to take on the role of GMG Chair? 

GMG has been an amazing source of both learning and fantastic relationships right across the industry. I’ve enjoyed contributing to the workshops and guidelines along the way so it was an easy decision to think about giving back to the organization. I really believe GMG is a unique organization in the industry, much-needed at a time like this, and I feel very honoured to have the opportunity to contribute toward its future.

What do you see as the major issues the industry will face in the next five to 10 years? 

Mining has to find a sustainable way to provide what the world needs for its future, and that brings a lot of challenges. We need to be more efficient, safer, be seen as good stewards of our environments rather than exploiters, and to generally be seen as positive contributors to our communities. That’s a lot of challenges, but we have to find a way to make good progress because mining is still vitally necessary to provide the materials for the future.

How can GMG help industry tackle these issues?

GMG is unique in that it is a very open and collaborative community that invites every stakeholder associated with the industry to work together to tackle these problems and propose solutions. GMG also looks to be a great supporter and encourager of other groups tackling innovation, knowledge sharing and expertise to arrive at solutions that improve the industry as a whole. I think our openness and breadth, plus the great track record of effective, positive collaboration, put us in a key role to help shape the future of mining.

What are your priorities for your two-year tenure?

I believe GMG is at a key inflection point in its journey. We’ve seen some great success and impact in our history to this point, and a key part of my focus is to continue that journey. We also know we need to expand our influence in a number of key ways, not just in regions where we currently don’t have a great presence, but also to build influence with other stakeholders such as government, non-government agencies, academia, and others. We will also need to reshape ourselves operationally for that kind of future because at the end of the day we want to ensure we deliver clear value and benefit to all of our members across the board. I think it’s going to be an exciting few years ahead.

We have a great Board, hugely committed staff, and stakeholders who are engaged and active. I’m personally very excited for our future and glad to be a part of it.