Problem facing miners ahead of new boom
AUSTRALIA'S mining sector has to adapt to changing community attitudes to big business on the back of the Royal Commission into misdeeds in the banking sector.
Deloitte's Tracking the Trends 2019 report released today shows the mining industry is poised for its greatest growth in a decade, but it must navigate changing community expectations along with accelerating digital disruption.
Deloitte national mining leader Ian Sanders said mining companies needed to rethink their strategies in an everchanging market.
Deloitte also has warned that the Australian economy faced mounting challenges in the form of a mini-credit crunch, drought and falling housing construction.
"Australian mining companies must not only adapt to the disruption of industry from a technical viewpoint, but the disruption brought about by changing community standards and attitudes towards mining," said Mr Sanders.
He said the Royal Commission into banking had brought renewed attention to the role of large corporations and the mining industry would not be immune to extra scrutiny.
Mining companies, along with those in other sectors, were now not only judged on their financial performance but on their relationship with workers, customers, communities and regulators as well as their impact on society at large.
Mr Sanders said this extended to diversity and inclusion programs, water conservation and sourcing of raw materials. Tech giants such as Apple were increasingly demanding the use of "ethically sourced" raw materials for tech products.
"This is exposing miners to increased scrutiny as socially-conscious consumers question the origin of raw materials in products like cell phones and electric vehicles," Mr Sanders said.
He said on the digital disruption front, mines would become increasingly automated and driven by artificial intelligence.
This did not necessarily mean fewer workers as new positions were being created in the sector "Mining companies now employ teams of data scientists which they didn't a decade ago," he said, adding the move to adopt more AI could improve safety and productivity.