In­dus­try in­sights with QRC

What busi­nesses need to be suc­cess­ful

Central Telegraph - - CQ INDUSTRY -

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.

PHOTO: BEV LACEY

KEY SPEAKER: Ian Mac­far­lane, chief ex­ec­u­tive of the Queens­land Re­sources Coun­cil.

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