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23 September 2022  •  Scott Thompson - Chief Strategy Officer, Bastion Reputation

Embracing difficult conversations

Scott Thompson

Bastion Reputation, one of Australia’s leading for-purpose corporate affairs consultancies, was proud to have been involved last week with Australia’s largest mining event and one of Australia’s biggest business events since the pandemic.

We were proud because we were able to contribute to an important part of one of the most difficult conversations before the global community – how do we transition our economies and our critical sectors to a zero emissions future to avoid catastrophic climate change.

As a values-based consultancy, Bastion Reputation works with key businesses and organisations who want to tell an authentic, purpose-led story about how they are addressing difficult challenges for community and economic benefit.

There are few more difficult challenges than how mining, one of the major contributors to global emissions, can play a leading role in the transition of our economies to a low emissions future.

This is why we were excited to work with the organisers of the International Mining and Resources Conference (IMARC) in Sydney – an event where over 7500 leaders from mining, related industries, and governments from around the world came together under the one roof to progress the conversation about the role mining can play in a cleaner future.

It is an important conversation if our economies are to achieve their mid-century climate goals. It is a conversation that must involve the industry itself and all participants in the mining sector value chain – from national governments to the smallest of start-ups that might be the providers of the step-change solutions to a cleaner future.

McKinsey analysis has estimated that coal used to manufacture steel would need to decline by 80 per cent by 2050 to achieve the 1.5 degrees of global warming pathway, but that this reinforces the opportunity for boosting supply of the raw materials required for low-carbon technologies such as wind turbines, solar cells, and electric vehicles.

According to S&P Global data, while Australia produces more than a third of the world’s iron ore, it also produces almost half of the world’s lithium – a key raw material for decarbonisation. Australia’s production of the other materials that can play key roles in decarbonisation – such as zinc, nickel, and cobalt – have significant growth potential if the expected reserves of these materials are fully developed.

What data like this shows is that mining has a key role to play to support the cleaner future we need. It is how mining transitions, that is the critical conversation we need to have globally.

It is this transition in mining, from the acceleration of mining equipment electrification, adoption of renewables to power mines, and use of remote and new technologies, that was front and centre in the conversation at IMARC last week. On the floor of the conference were electric mining vehicles which were kilometres below ground only days before, new drones for remote zero-emissions surveillance, and a vast array of energy-efficient and low emissions solutions for mining processes.

The conversation about mining’s role and transition to a low emissions future has begun and investments and change are happening now. Many challenges lie ahead, especially the need for the mining sector to genuinely work with indigenous and other communities. But it is not a conversation which can be had without the key players in the sector at the table.

All sides in the conversation can play a part to achieve common good for all – and that’s a goal worth fighting for.

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