Optimism is back, and disruption is on the way: that was the message from two of the Queensland’s industry leaders
at last week’s Bowen Basin Mining Club luncheon in Mackay.
Attendees and members at the November event heard from Darren Walker of the Queensland Exploration Council,
and John Smith, CEO of MPC Group, on two very diverse topics.
Following the launch of the QEC Exploration Scorecard last week, Darren Walker presented on the rise of optimism in
exploration – including a significant expected increase in junior explorers’ exploration spending activity.
Despite the uncertainty of the current political climate in Queensland, Mr Walker said that a number of key exploration
projects are underway, including players like Vitrinite, Pembroke Resources, Red Metals, and New Hope Group. He
emphasised the importance of a holistic approach to exploration, including a clear social license to operate.
“In getting new projects off the ground, social license is as important as ever. Forward planning and engagement puts
not only the project but the whole industry in a much better position - it’s essential to bring the community along with
“The optimism we’re currently seeing around exploration, particularly in Queensland, is a nice change from the doom
and gloom we’ve had for so long,” said Mr Walker.
The second presentation of the day pivoted into a discussion about the future of the industry, particularly looking
towards eventual disruption by the ‘Uber of the mining industry’.
John Smith explored the dilemma of how the world’s largest taxi company owns no vehicles, the world’s largest
accommodation provider owns no real estate, and how the fastest-growing television network lays no cables – and
then asked how the mining industry could meet our ‘Uber’.
With leading mining houses like Rio Tinto focusing entire divisions on growth and innovation, it’s no wonder the
implementation of technology, outsourcing and innovation is at an all-time high in the industry.
As the ex-CEO of BMA and now leading a major contracting company in MPC Group, Mr Smith said that the
challenges in business are remarkably similar whether you’re on the client side or the contractor side.
“Twenty years ago there was no Uber, no Airbnb, no Netflix – and the mining industry can’t be arrogant in ignoring our
potential for disruption. If we don’t keep thinking about how we stay relevant in our business, we will be run over.”
“The fact is, the minerals in Australia that we mine are needed around the world. No matter the ideology of the day, we
will keep mining and exporting. The key is managing exponential change and managing to do things differently,” said
The luncheon wrapped up the BBMC event calendar for 2017 by launching the 2018 Queensland Mining Awards, to
be held during next year’s QME event in Mackay.