Mining technology transformation could deliver $74bn to economy

Image: 'Stay Ahead of the Game' report

Australia will potentially see a $74 billion injection to its economy and over 80,000 jobs created when new technologies are being adopted in the resources sectors, according to a report by METS Ignited and the National Energy Resources Australia (NERA).

Without automation, mining will generate a net present value (NPV) of $1.617 trillion of gross value added in the Australian economy between 2017 and 2030.

Comparatively automation, alongside a strong domestic supply chain, could generate an NPV of up to $160 billion on top of that.

These benefits could ripple through the wider economy and Australia’s domestic supply chain supporting the resources sector if suppliers choose to adapt.

An estimated $32 billion and 265,000 jobs will go into Australia’s domestic supply chain alone if suppliers choose to participate in the tech transition.

Australian equipment, technology and services suppliers could stand to lose these benefits if they don’t back miners and energy producers’ automation ambitions, the report states.

The job creation would also “more than offset” job losses in mining and oil and gas, it continues.

“The use of analytics and robotics not only provides significant safety and environmental benefits, it is also rapidly increasing job opportunities,” Federal Minister for Industry, Science and Technology Karen Andrews said.

“The new jobs will be created across the country, including many in the regional areas where mining already exists, which will ensure the continued vibrancy of these communities.”

The report also reveals that around 200 high-tech trucks are already carrying ore and waste around mine sites in Western Australia’s Pilbara region each day.

Autonomous trucks can increase the daily amount of ore processed at a mine site by between 15 and 30 per cent, according to major mining companies.

They also need high-precision global positioning systems (GPS), communication antennas, on-board computers, advanced sensors and radars – technologies that can be supplied domestically.

“Of particular importance is that autonomous haul trucks can significantly improve workplace safety as well as consume less fuel than a manned truck, thus improving capital productivity,” the report states.

“Australia cannot turn a blind eye to this development.”

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