Australasian Science: Australia's authority on science since 1938

What’s Ahead for the Minerals Industry?

By Denise Goldsworthy

Significant innovation is a must to satisfy mining regulators and communities.

The full text of this article can be purchased from Informit.

Australian miners are known for digging things up and shipping them overseas. We do it at scale, and in many cases at lower cost than our international competitors.

However, mining in Australia is becoming increasingly difficult. The large, low-cost, Tier 1 deposits are in some cases nearing depletion, and the limited discoveries of replacement resources are bringing challenges of deeper, wetter and lower-grade ore.

Financial margins will always be low which, with the increasing requirements of regulators and communities, means significant innovation is necessary.

The industry has impressive examples of innovation, but many opportunities are handicapped by the on-again/off-again investment strategies of the industry, its investors and financial backers due to the swings in commodities prices. There is also a big difference between the ability of the major and small to mid-tier miners to access the latest innovations. This is currently preventing the mass use of technology, inhibiting adaptations from other industries and preventing the removal of significant entry barriers for new technology suppliers.

Australia is up to this challenge, with some of the best minds working in Australian research organisations, mining and the supporting mining equipment technology and services (METS) sector to make this happen. The shared vision for mining...

The full text of this article can be purchased from Informit.