The Asia Miner

OCT-DEC 2018

The ASIA Miner - Reporting Important Issues to Mining Companies in the Asia Pacific Region

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the asia miner • volume 15 • issue 4 4 LEADING DEVELOPMENTS As history has shown us, innovaঞon does not come easily to the mining sector. That is not to say that mining is apatheঞc to innovaঞon or that it treats it like a pariah. Rather, in this already risky and expensive business, true and novel innovaঞon can be quite difficult to jusঞfy, with proven technologies a much easier sell to boards and investors. In short, when it comes to innovaঞon, many mining companies elect the safe and tested opঞon. But being 'first to be second' is no longer a viable choice for the sector. A 2015 study by McKinsey has shown that the mining industry experienced a 30 per cent decline in producঞvity in the preceding decades. With commodity price fluctuaঞons squeezing profit margins or eliminaঞng them enঞrely; operaঞonal costs being on the rise; social, regulatory and environmental pressures mounঞng for cleaner operaঞons; and deposits becoming increasingly difficult and expensive to access, companies are being forced to address inefficiencies in their operaঞons to stay compeঞঞve, while ensuring they maintain their social licence to operate. Innovaঞon comes in many guises. Deloie defines 'innovaঞon' as "the creaঞon of a new, viable business offering". The Internaঞonal Insঞtute for Sustainable Development (IISD) – one of the world's leading centres of research and innovaঞon – in its 2018 report Innovaon in Mining, stated that innovaঞon in the mining sector can take the form of "core innovaঞons that opঞmise exisঞng assets, products or services; adjacent innovaঞons that incrementally expand a business in new areas; and transformaঞonal innovaঞons that represent new breakthroughs and invenঞons for the industry". IISD does not see innovaঞon as a conঞnuous improvement nor being restricted to technology and changes in the way companies mine, but also applicable to "a company's operaঞng structure, management, communicaঞons strategies, stakeholder engagement and a number of other areas central to the business". In short, represenঞng a "viable conduit for the mining sector to increasingly develop and implement new approaches, technologies and processes to realise mineral resource opportuniঞes while improving environmental performance and meeঞng social expectaঞons". DRIVERS OF INNOVATION One of the major drivers of innovaঞon in the mining sector is the necessity to remain compeঞঞve across all facets of operaঞons – from reducing operaঞonal risks to recovering metals and minerals of higher quality, and everything else in between. Addiঞonally, with recent commodity price declines and reduced profit margins, there is an urgent need for many companies to reduce the costs of developing deposits and operaঞng mines, in terms of labour, capital, energy and other Innovation, renewables and the mining sector – a marriage of once unlikely partners The need for innovaon in mining is real

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