Industry insights with QRC
What businesses need to be successful
THE Australian mining boom is widely seen as having started in 2002, coinciding with a time where Australia received increased prices for exports and paid relatively lower prices for imports. Many economists attribute Australia’s 24 years of consecutive economic growth in part to the stimulus from the mining boom, with the massive revenue from exports and foreign direct investment.
Consistently decreasing iron ore and coal prices from 2014-16 led many to speculate that the Australian mining sector was failing, and the boom was definitely no more.
However, even though the boom has ended, central Queensland has 77 mine lease applications and another $2.3 billion in approved projects ready to go.
Queensland Resources Council (QRC) chief executive Ian Macfarlane admits for many in the industry it has been a difficult time; however, he believes recent investments, including increasing resource prices, have brought renewed confidence.
“It’s fair to say the resources industry is in a far more positive position than it was 12 months ago and the feeling is that it’s on the upward curve,” Mr Macfarlane said.
“We’re certainly not expecting prices as high as a few years ago but we’ve come through a challenging period and managed to exercise cost savings in transport and operational areas where efficiency is high, productivity is up, and across the board there is now general confidence in the industry.”
Mr Macfarlane said confidence in the METS sector has increased significantly especially in the Mackay region where out of service machinery is being upgraded and overhauled.
“Even though Mackay has a strong METS sector compared to Gladstone, the central Queensland region is starting to see the same effects,” he said.
“Gladstone businesses should be looking to take advantage of companies who want to get their kit in good order and many are also now starting to look at improving their efficiencies by using more technology within their operations as well as where they can cost save.”
An exciting but daunting prospect for many within the industry is the development of digital technologies and how it will affect the mining and resource industry.
In August, an Adani representative told guests at a forum if businesses didn’t have a digital presence they wouldn’t be noticed.
“Even though businesses complain that they need to keep upgrading, the reality is if you’re a business in 2017 you need to have a digital interface,” Mr Macfarlane said.
“I know it’s not core business but it is the way of the future.
“If companies want to participate in projects like Adani or even existing projects in refurbishment or ongoing maintenance projects they will need to be online.”
On October 12, Mr Macfarlane will be a guest speaker at the GEA Major Industry Conference where he will be talking about future industry developments and the challenges expected over the next few years.
“At the end of the day it’s about costs, getting people in the industry, maintaining competitiveness, and dealing with the issues of energy, particularly increases in renewable energy,” he said.
KEY SPEAKER: Ian Macfarlane, chief executive of the Queensland Resources Council.