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Australian mining sector ‘facing a moment of truth’: BHP

BHP mining

While Australia has positioned itself as the world’s leading mining exporter, there are several other countries emerging as premier mining destinations.

And with the energy transition initiating a new industrial revolution, there are commercial opportunities aplenty. But only the countries that act fastest will be best positioned to capitalise.

BHP analyses today’s cutthroat mining landscape in its new report, Recapturing Australia’s Competitiveness.

The company suggests that in order to meet desired climate goals set out in the Paris Agreement, the world is going to need 140 new copper mines, 60 new nickel mines and 50 new lithium mines by 2030.

The capital investment needed to achieve this is estimated at an additional $US100 billion ($152.5 billion) per year, but global competition for capital is intense and mining players will need to wisely strategise the best ways of unlocking financial support.

BHP believes if Australia was to boost its production of critical minerals, it could deliver up to $20 billion of annual investment into the country.

For Australia to achieve this opportunity, BHP outlined four key pillars. They are as follows:

  • Stable and globally competitive policy, regulatory and fiscal settings
  • Robust, transparent and streamlined permitting
  • Best-in-class enabling infrastructure
  • A world-class METS sector and workforce of the future

While BHP sees an appealing regulatory landscape as critical to attracting and retaining investment in Australia, a new risk-based approach to permitting that focuses on speed to decision will be key to bringing new mines online faster.

The major miner believes best-in-class enabling infrastructure will provide the necessary foundations for a prosperous mining sector, while it is also important we are attracting the right personnel to drive this evolution.

“Australia has a huge opportunity to capitalise on major change in the world economy driven by the megatrends of decarbonisation, electrification and population growth – but we must be ready and able to compete in the global arena,” BHP president Australia Geraldine Slattery said.

“Many countries are endowed with vast quantities of minerals essential to decarbonisation, and Australia’s global competitors are implementing ambitious policies and investing in technology and skills to capture their share of new capital investment, talent and supply chains.”

“Australia needs to encourage major investment in the people, technology and skills required to create a diverse modern economy. More efficient assessment and permitting for major projects, strategic infrastructure and a stable policy environment will encourage global capital to flow to Australia’s shores.”

Read the full Recapturing Australia’s Competitiveness report here.

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