MEC joins leaders at QEC and EY event

MEC Mining’s Kylie Smith and Andrew Dittmann had the opportunity to attend an event hosted by the Queensland Exploration Council and Ernst & Young (EY) last week in Brisbane.

The event focused on the findings of Ernst & Young’s latest report  “Top 10 Business Risks Facing Mining and Metals in 2019 -2020” and featured a panel discussion around the key talking topics of the report.

Andy Carrick moderated the discussion with the panel of industry leaders such as:

  • Elizabeth Rose – Director, Climate Change and Sustainability Services, EY
  • Kim Wainwright – Chief Executive Officer, Xplore Resources
  • Professor Rick Valenta – Director, WH Bryan Mining & Geology Research Centre, SMi, UQ

The discussion commenced with a focus on the effect of commodity price volatility and international debt on exploration in Australia.

Andy Carrick noted “Commodity price volatility has always deterred exploration but in the current market international debt is high and GDP is down so commodity price volatility is even more of an issue now.”

When asked about the importance of license to operate on exploration projects, Professor Valenta stated “There are about 50 years worth of copper projects which are struggling to be unlocked – about 300 projects. After doing some detailed analysis, we found 75% of these would have already been operational ore bodies if they weren’t being scrutinised by social, environmental and cultural license. So we are now looking at how we can get some of these projects up and running by reducing their footprints through innovation.”

As the discussion progressed, Kim was asked if she had witnessed the change in skill base and competition for talent in the market. “Surprisingly,  talent was not listed high on the report. I think from a policy and education stand point, the challenges are just going to get harder and harder and will probably end up at number 1 on the risks to the industry at some point in the future. We are seeing things are starting to get busy  and with natural attrition and people leaving the industry to pursue other career paths, we aren’t as talent rich as we were in the last boom cycle”, stated him.