Australia's peak industry body for the METS sector: AustMine
Austmine is the peak industry body in Australia for the mining equipment, technology and services (METS) sector and is proud to lead such a dynamic and innovative sector. The organization promotes the advancement and competitive positioning of Australian technology and collaboration and innovation in mining and resources. Austmine has been in existence since 1989 and has grown significantly over the past two and a half decades.
The organization currently has over 300 corporate member companies, made up of large OEMs, Engineering Firms and major contractors, innovative SMEs across technology, services, software and equipment and exciting start-ups. Their vision is to make Australia the true global hub for METS and continue to create opportunities for members globally.
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In 2015, Austmine conducted a national survey of the METS sector, as an update to our 2012/2013 survey which discovered METS was a $90 billion a year industry, employing over 340,000 people.
Naturally the state of the market has evolved significantly since our original survey, so in 2015 Austmine focused on how METS companies were adapting to and evolving in light of the current mining industry.
The big focus for many is currently on the customer and reinforcing existing relationships, whether with the end client (67 percent of companies work directly with the miners), or a partner/contractor. Others however see expansion as the key driver; new industries being targeted are oil and gas, infrastructure and renewable energy; new geographies are the top strategy for some, with the six most successful export regions for Australian METS being Indonesia, USA, New Zealand, Philippines, Chile and PNG. 66 percent of Australian METS now export, vs. 55 percent in 2013.
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“We are pretty proud of our METS sector in Australia and rightfully so. It is a globally focused, highly innovative, world leading sector,” said Chris Gibbs Stewart, CEO of Austmine. “The Australian Federal Government has recognized the importance of METS and this year the METS Growth Centre will be launched which will provide a platform for collaboration and bring together industry leaders to solve the big issues which the industry is facing.
This will be a very important initiative as Austmine believes that collaboration is the key – both from a strategic and tactical point of view. A close working relationship and open dialogue between miners and suppliers is needed to not only look at today’s issues, but to look further down the road and really understand where we will be in 10 or 20 years’ time.
“Without a doubt miners are facing unprecedented challenges, and now more than ever the METS sector is critical to the on-going sustainability of mining."
Over the last year, Austmine has been fortunate enough to work closely through events with Rio Tinto, Gold Fields, CMOC Northparkes, Anglo American, Roy Hill, Sirius Resources, PanAust, Glencore, Peabody Energy, AngloGold Ashanti, Newcrest and more, providing our members direct access to senior decision makers within these organizations.
Innovation is one of Austmine’s core values and a fundamental value the sector needs to embrace in order to remain competitive and increase productivity in the future. 63 percent of companies surveyed reported that innovation was core to their business strategy, driven mostly by a need to remain competitive, but also due to a direct customer request, or a desire to improve internal efficiencies or cost management.
Austmine drives and recognizes innovation through our biennial innovation awards, our themed events and webinars and their Innovation Champion profiles, amongst a range of other initiatives currently in planning stages.
Vale invests $150mn to extend life of Manitoba operations
Vale has announced a $150mn CAD investment to extend current mining activities in Thompson, Manitoba by 10 years while aggressive exploration drilling of known orebodies holds the promise of mining well past 2040.
Global energy transition is boosting the market for nickel
The Thompson Mine Expansion is a two-phase project. The announcement represents Phase 1 and includes critical infrastructure such as new ventilation raises and fans, increased backfill capacity and additional power distribution. The changes are forecast to improve current production by 30%.
“This is the largest single investment we have made in our Thompson operations in the past two decades,” said Mark Travers, Executive Vice-President for Base Metals with Vale. “It is significant news for our employees, for the Thompson community and for the Province of Manitoba.
“The global movement to electric vehicles, renewable energies and carbon reduction has shone a welcome spotlight on nickel – positioning the metal we mine as a key contributor to a greener future and boosting world demand. We are proud that Thompson can be part of that future and part of the low carbon solution.”
Vale continues drilling program at Manitoba
Coupled with today’s announcement, Vale is continuing an extensive drilling program to further define known orebodies and search for new mineralization.
“This $150mn investment is just one part of our ambitious Thompson turnaround story. It is an indicator of our confidence in a long future for the Thompson operations,” added Dino Otranto, Chief Operating Officer for Vale’s North Atlantic Base Metals operations.
“Active collaboration between our design team, technical services, USW Local 6166, and our entire Thompson workforce has delivered a safe, efficient and fit-for-purpose plan that will enable us to extract the Thompson nickel resources for many years to come.”
The Thompson orebody was first discovered in 1956 by Vale (then known as Inco) following the adoption of new exploration technology and the largest exploration program to-date in the company’s history. Mining of the Thompson orebody began in 1961.
“We see the lighting of a path forward to a sustainable and prosperous future for Vale Base Metals in Manitoba,” said Gary Annett, General Manager of Vale’s Manitoba Operations.