Equinix, a digital infrastructure company, has published its second Mining Tech Report, which collates the perspectives of Australia's foremost mining executives. The report scrutinises their motivations, beliefs, attitudes, and feelings across various topics and areas.
The Mining Technology Report 2023-24 reveals that in light of continuing global geopolitical tensions and economic worries, mining leaders are somewhat less optimistic about the immediate future than in the previous edition.
However, they exhibit a more positive outlook regarding their mid-term and beyond prospects. Of significance, these executives appreciate the role that technology has to play in achieving a digital competitive edge and meeting evolving safety and compliance standards, with solid ratings given to ESG analytics, operational technology security controls, and digital twin investments.
Guy Danskine, Managing Director, Equinix Australia, offered his insights on the report's findings, stating, "Australian mining leaders have a lot on their plates currently. Yet, the sector is also anticipating rapid growth as the demand for critical minerals approaches a turning point."
"To leverage this opportunity, mining leaders are aware they need to enhance their infrastructure and digital abilities to power and connect a global ecosystem of people, connected devices and advanced technologies generating vast amounts of data."
"While priorities are shifting, ensuring investment in relevant technologies is crucial to overcoming operational risks, rising costs and a skills shortage," said Danskine.
The report also indicates that rising operational costs have placed formidable pressure on mining organisations to procure efficiency through technology investments. There is also the added stress of fostering the necessary skills for a sustainable future. Despite these issues, an overall sense of hope prevails.
The global clean energy revolution is gaining speed. Australia finds itself in a favourable position, owing to its rich supplies of critical minerals, such as lithium, copper, zinc, and vanadium, necessary for a renewable future. Furthermore, the United States Inflation Reduction Act has significantly shifted investment towards nations like Australia with established free trade agreements.
The 2023-24 report presents a comprehensive view of the latest strategies and activities in the mining sector. It also explores the intersection of technology, people, and operations. The report extracts insights from extensive interviews with mining leaders, considering their business outlook, investment strategies, and views on the role of technology in moulding a more sustainable future.
Natalie Taylor, President of WA Mining Club, noted, "Despite the global economic downturn, the Australian mining sector has reasons for optimism. Western Australia continues to attract strong investments and overseas interest."
"To increase productivity and reduce risks, miners are prioritising advanced wireless communication technologies, real-time location system sensors and tags, and automation systems."
Nicole Roocke, CEO and CFO of the Mineral Research Institute of Western Australia, highlighted the paradox the mining industry faces. She added, "The demand for commodities is soaring as global economies race to deploy clean energy technologies. However, there is a big challenge in deploying new technology for brownfield operations due to significant sunk capital."
"For greenfield operations, challenges will arise trying to secure capital and establish next-generation operations."