When industry leaders, influencers, strategic thinkers, and technology experts came together in Adelaide for the Austmine Conference 2023, the future of the industry was the centre point of discussions.
“We have some big challenges and many questions to answer as we embark on a massive transformation the size of the industrial revolution at the speed of the digital age,” Austmine’s Chief Executive Officer Christine Gibbs Stewart said prior to the event, foreshadowing conversations covering climate change, the skills shortage, digitisation, and innovation.
“Discussions were very future-oriented and generally positive – though also realistic – during the Austmine event this year,” noted Steven Cohen, Sales and Marketing Manager and head of Mipac’s 5-person Austmine delegation.
“There were presentations about new technologies and future innovations, but also a lot of case studies of what’s actually happening on the ground right now; where we’re at; what today’s real challenges are for the industry,” he added.
Some of these discussions included:
- That copper is the mineral of the future – needed to power electric vehicles and other clean, renewable technologies – but that there is currently a significant discrepancy between demand and supply. (It’s estimated 4.6 billion tonnes of copper will be needed to meet the 2050 environmental targets. Global copper reserves are estimated at 880 million tonnes.)
- That the Australian mining and minerals industry has a responsibility and economic opportunity to exemplify a shift to clean energy sources. (Currently 11% of the world’s energy is consumed by mining.)
- That collaboration and innovation – including sharing ideas without worrying about intellectual property issues – will be essential elements to discovering, optimising and delivering the metal the world needs to achieve Net Zero.
- That collaboration must go hand in hand with government systems and policies which will enable the required change and upscaling of the mining sector.
- That automation is key for the safe future of mining, especially underground mining.
- That the digital mine is the mine of the future, with an increasing scope for Internet of Things (IoT) technologies helping to increase mine reliability. However, technological innovation is happening so quickly that old technologiescan quickly become obsolete.
- That there are huge expectations and risks for expanding or starting new mines in the current global environment
To read more about these topics, check out these recent articles and related readings:
- Mipac to provide Main Automation Contracting for BHP’s West Musgrave Project
- Will automation replace people, or just change their skillset
- How do I eat an elephant? Roadmaps to digitalisation.
- The Race For Copper, The Metal Of The Future
- Day 1 at Austmine 2023: Transforming Our Future
- The Race To Net-Zero: Is the global business community on course to beat the clock?
- Clean energy technology innovation and the vital role of governments
- Visualizing the World’s Largest Copper Producers