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“Australia has a golden opportunity”: EITI on responsible mineral resourcing

Global standard for good mineral resources governance Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) has encouraged Australia to position itself internationally as a responsible mineral sourcing leader.

EITI executive director Mark Robinson told the International Mining and Resources Conference (IMARC) that Australia is right to be proud of its track record as a global leader in the extractives sector.

“In the context of unprecedented demand for minerals to fuel the energy transition, Australia has a golden opportunity to be not only a global mining superpower, but also a leader on ESG (environmental, social and governance) performance,” he said.

The EITI executive director said while countries across Asia, Africa and South America have made steady progress in this space, technical support and regional leadership is needed to guarantee that the reforms are sustained, and mineral supply chains are built to be resilient.

“The opportunity exists now to ensure that the strategic minerals boom will provide benefits to citizens in producing countries,” Robinson said.

A way in which Australia can reach this goal is through technological innovation.

RCF Jolimont Mining Innovation director Charles Gillies told IMARC that Australia’s METS (mining equipment, technology and services) sector is world leading, but the broader public is largely unaware of the industry’s achievements and global leadership.

“We often talk about Australia’s automotive manufacturing heritage, but the METS sector is now a major employer and exporter. Yet, it’s not telling its story very well,” he said.

“This lack of storytelling results in poorer outcomes for operators as great innovations and valuable ideas end up not being implemented and ultimately forgotten.

“The challenge we see with young firms is that coming up with a really good (and) innovative idea is incredibly hard. Creating a good business is equally as hard. We see companies focus on the former at the expense of getting the business right, and that makes it hard to invest in. Nothing ever goes smoothly, nothing ever goes to plan, so having an experienced management team is key to riding those challenges.”

IMARC 2023 concluded yesterday. The event attracted over 9000 attendees from 120 countries, 600 speakers and more than 500 exhibitors. It also assisted in facilitating more than 3000 face to face business meetings.

Issues such as the world’s growing demand for resources, improving community engagement, the race to securing critical minerals, and promoting the role of mining in helping meet global emissions reductions goals were discussed over the three-day event.

“The strong theme that has emerged this week is that the world needs more minerals and commodities than ever to achieve our decarbonisation goals, but the industry must earn and retain the trust of the community to do the right thing socially and environmentally. This message has been consistent throughout IMARC’s 10 years,” Beacon Events chief executive officer Daniel Kirwin said.

“The ability to bring global leaders to IMARC reflects the maturity of an industry that is prepared to not only come together to talk about the big challenges, but to bring real solutions.”

IMARC 2024 will be held from October 29-31 in Sydney.

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