Geoff Deans – 2024 – Modifying Factors and Risk Orientations


The term ‘Modifying Factor’ is common to many industry sectors and is deemed to be anything that can affect business or product viability. In the minerals sector, this includes “mining, processing, metallurgical, infrastructure, economic, marketing, legal, environmental, social, and governmental” considerations (JORC Code, 2012). 

While systems engineering and technical complexity are generally well understood at most resource and infrastructure projects, Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) and other Modifying Factors remain less quantified or absent from early-stage analysis and assessment. At a time when more and much larger infrastructure projects are being proposed and (occasionally) built around the world, many have strikingly poorly quantified financial, environment and public support risk profiles (Flyvbjerg et al, 2019). This trend will intensify as investor and political risk appetites are trending down, while project complexity and societal expectations are trending up. A key consideration when understanding project risk is how crucial stakeholders perceive and accept the direct, indirect or cumulative impacts to common project factors such as water and land. As risk is in the Eye of the Beholder, common impacts to modifying factors can represent different risk consequences to different stakeholders. Misalignment in risk appetites and impact acceptance between stakeholders can lead to misalignment, conflict, rework and event project abandonment.


MBA, MCr, GradCertSIA, MComRel, FAusIMM (CP), GAICD 

Project Director, Modifying Factors Specialist, Social Performance Professional 

Geoff has two decades of hands-on experience, having lived and operated within complex environments to spearhead the assessment, exploration, development, operations and execution of greenfield mining developments, brownfield expansions and large-scale linear infrastructure projects. As an expert in multi-factor risk, he holds a proven record of mitigating project uncertainties and enhancing total project outcomes. 

Previously serving as Project Director for the Carrapateena Block Cave Expansion and Growth, as well as holding the role of Principal Advisor for Land Access and the inaugural Group Manager Social Performance at a prominent global minerals corporation, Geoff embarked on his entrepreneurial journey by founding Modifying Factors in 2023. His career is marked by a meticulous approach to evaluating and mitigating the direct, indirect, and cumulative impacts of modifying factors on projects and their stakeholders. 

Geoff is a member of the AusIMM, actively contributing to the field by developing and delivering content for the AusIMM ESG and Social Responsibility Professional Certificate program, as well as the Operationalising ESG course within the Mine Operations course series. 

Additional Information

AusIMM article referred to –