Light at the end of the tunnel

Survey results show positive industry outlook.

Australian Mining’s inaugural Business Sentiment Survey has revealed that Australian mining professionals are optimistic about the future of their industry over the next three months, signaling the mining industry may have reached the bottom of the economic downturn.

More than 55% of respondents to the quarterly Sentiment Survey said they were either very optimistic or optimistic about the about the future of the Australian minerals industry over the next three months.

More than 12,000 subscribers to MINING DAILY, Australian Mining’s daily mining news service, were asked to complete the Sentiment Survey over two weeks from April 1, 2009.

The Survey found that 43.5% of respondents see economic instability as the key factor affecting their operation, with commodity prices the next biggest factor at 19.6%.

The Survey also found that safety incidents have a major impact on the productivity of a mining and minerals processing operation, with 17% of respondents indicating that safety incidents are the key issue affecting production levels.

In a sign of the times, one quarter of respondents said that contract mining and services would suffer in tough economic times, with minesite vehicles and maintenance also suffering during an economic downturn.

It comes as no surprise that job cuts have been widespread in the industry, with 53.1% of respondents indicating there have been job cuts at their workplace over the last month as a result of the global financial crisis.

Full Results

How optimistic are you about the future of the Australian minerals industry over the next 3 months?

Very optimistic 6.2%

Optimistic 49.8%

Neutral 27.3%

Pessimistic 15.8%

Very pessimistic 1.0%

What are the key issues affecting your operation?

Production 4.8%

Commodity prices 19.6%

Capital raising 9.6%

Economy instability 43.5%

Recruitment 2.4%

Efficiency 7.7%

Human resources 2.9%

Other 9.6%

Which of the following areas do you plan to specify/authorise/purchase in the next 3 months?

Safety Equipment 35.4%

Minesite Vehicles 11.5%

Electrical Equipment and Cables 13.9%

Contract Mining and Services 15.3%

Bulk Materials Handling 6.7%

Quarrying, Crushing & Screening 6.7%

Minerals Processing Equipment 10.0%

Instrumentation & Process Control 11.5%

Pipes, Valves, Pumps and Compressors 10.0%

Motors and Drives 10.5%

Mine Ventilation and Dust Control 6.2%

Environmental Management 9.1%

Materials Handling 9.1%

Cranes & Lifting 5.7%

Maintenance 24.9%

Drill & Blast 4.8%

Wear Resistance 7.2%

Mine Automation and Remote Control 4.8%

Pneumatic & Hydraulic Equipment 6.2%

Shotcreting & Support 3.3%

Other 22.0%

How much will you personally specify/authorize/purchase in all business spending in the next 3 months?

None at all 33.5%

$20,000 to $100,000 34.4%

$100,001 – $500,000 15.3%

$500,001 – $1,000,000 7.2%

More than $1,000,000 9.6%

What key factors affect your operation’s production levels?

Safety incidents 17.2%

Recruitment 8.1%

Maintenance/wear resistance 13.9%

Economic conditions 63.2%

Onsite conditions 22.0%

Commodity prices 27.3%

Other 7.7%

What impact has the state of the global economy had on your business?

Severe negative impact 15.3%

Negative impact 63.6%

No affect 13.4%

Positive impact 7.2%

Excellent impact 0.5%

What equipment at your operation would most likely suffer in tough economic times?

Safety Equipment 3.8%

Minesite Vehicles 21.1%

Electrical Equipment and Cables 2.9%

Contract Mining and Services 25.8%

Bulk Materials Handling 3.3%

Quarrying, Crushing & Screening 3.3%

Minerals Processing Equipment 10.0%

Instrumentation & Process Control 5.3%

Pipes, Valves, Pumps and Compressors 4.3%

Motors and Drives 5.3%

Mine Ventilation and Dust Control 1.0%

Environmental Management 4.3%

Materials Handling 1.4%

Cranes & Lifting 1.4%

Maintenance 20.6%

Drill & Blast 2.4%

Wear Resistance 2.4%

Mine Automation and Remote Control 5.7%

Pneumatic & Hydraulic Equipment 2.9%

Shotcreting & Support 0.5%

Other (please specify) 28.2%

Have there been job cuts at your workplace over the last month as a result of the global financial crisis?

Yes 53.1%

No 46.9%

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