MORE than 1000 attendees is a big number for any mining forum but the fact that a horde this size descended on a recent Australian Securities Exchange event focused on new reporting compliance rules underscored the significance of the soon-to-be implemented changes.
WITH fewer large surface deposits being discovered, miners are more frequently being driven deeper underground to access minerals the world so urgently demands. A new wave of technology and understanding is advancing block cave mining into a new era, where it is expected many more underground rock factories will blindly tap these buried ore masses.
THOSE expecting doom and gloom from the select committee of commodity experts assembled at Mines and Money in London this year would have been surprised by a generally upbeat, if pragmatic, set of views on the medium-term outlook for metal prices.
OCTOBER 15: The good news coming from the Focus on West Africa conference in London last week was that if companies were prepared to accept and tackle the risks within the West African mining sector then they could make a strong case for financing. The bad news was, despite each speaker’s attempt to put a rosy spin on things, traditional financing is reserved for a select group of companies that meet certain criteria and chances are your company won’t make the cut.
WHAT does the mine of the future look like, was the question posed repeatedly at the 8th AusIMM Open Pit Operators’ Conference in Western Australia. Maybe the wrong people were being asked because the answer remained more or less the same over two days. Don’t think too far outside the box!
SEPTEMBER 10: THIS is an edited transcript of a speech given by Kathy Reid, Allion Legal principal and head of its workplace relations and safety team, at last week’s AMEC 2012 convention in Western Australia. The title of her presentation was, Harmony or disarray? An update on the changes to safety laws in Australia.
IN AN increasingly volatile and somewhat pessimistic economic environment, a frantic search is taking place for the ‘El Dorado’ of global growth. The general consensus is that it is to be found in emerging rather than developed markets and the majority opinion is that China is undoubtedly the pivotal location.
A DEEPER examination of the world-class mining equipment, technology and services (METS) sector underpinning Australia’s vast mineral export industry has shown more than 160 private and public companies generated $A42.4 billion of mining-related revenues last year, including more than $A15 billion of offshore sales. The companies employ over 150,000 people.
DESPITE its efforts, Indonesia has been unable to establish an investment climate for miners capable of doing justice to its substantial mineral wealth. In fact, on the merit of recent events, things have never been worse.
FEBRUARY 20 - ‘HIGH cost, low productivity nation’ was the lament last week of Australian business leaders captured in a national newspaper headline. Later in the week unions stopped work at the nation’s biggest coking coal mines – a clear sign the industry’s decade-long battle with declining productivity isn’t about to get easier. One industry ‘analyst’ believes the productivity problems run deeper than economic commentators would have us believe.
CURRENTLY there is a debate which highlights a serious capability gap in the Australian regulatory reporting system. For the mining industry, it also poses a significant opportunity.
DECEMBER 1: A REPORT on the development of Australia’s mining equipment, technology and services (METS) sector suggests the sector is at “a key stage of evolution”, and that it must get better at promoting itself and become more familiar to policy makers.
ONE of Australia’s senior tertiary minerals sector academics has told a Perth mining conference the sector’s survival strategy must evolve into a superior plan for lasting prosperity – if the mining industry really wants a world-class, evergreen supply of mining engineers and other professionals to meet its claimed long-term needs.
DECISIONS in companies are often dictated by the bean counters, and if you can’t count it, you can’t have it. International Finance Corporation’s Marcos Vaena tells HighGrade how you can get the number crunchers excited about upholding high social and environmental standards in developing countries.
WHEN a mining executive recently suggested he could one day envisage a senate enquiry into why Australia wasn’t doing much better on the back of copper prices well above current levels, he wasn’t entirely kidding. Outside of Olympic Dam and Mount Isa, Australia is a rather poor performer on the copper front, and that arguably seems at odds given those two examples and the vast continent’s overall prospectivity. The question is, can much be done to actively encourage the under-cover exploration needed for big new copper discoveries to be made?
ON the surface mine sites appear harmonious and safe, but dig a little deeper and in some cases you expose homophobia, aggression and a culture of “real men” putting the safety of themselves and their colleagues at risk.
WHILE Orica, the mine explosives giant built on the foundations of the old British Imperial Chemical Industries company, is the flagbearer for Australia’s $A25 billion-plus domestically owned and based mining services, technology and manufacturing industry, it is the ground moving beneath the leader – and driving expansion of a $A6.4 billion export column – that is a feature of HighGrade’s 2011 listing of more than 100 significant companies in the sector.
CHINESE investment and some local exploration success are revitalising the minerals industry in Tasmania’s west. But many towns in the region are still dying. Rosebery, both the town and the mine, may benefit from the patience and farsightedness for which the Chinese are renowned.
AUSTRALIAN miners often look to the full pockets of Asian investors to fund their projects, but last week one Chinese coal miner instead successfully opened the mining-savvy pockets of the Australian investor with a debut on the Australian Securities Exchange. Is this the start of a rush of junior Chinese miners wanting to side-step the cost of listing in Hong Kong?