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Digging deep
Australia’s resource sector looks forward to a strong recovery following the global
financial crisis.
ENERGY & MINING
By Mitch Hooke
CEO Minerals Council of Australia.
The unprecedented global economic adversity that
has afflicted the globe over the past 12 months
has profoundly challenged the Australian minerals
industry’s capacity to endure and grow.
The world has been caught in the ‘perfect economic
storm’ but this will pass as the developing world
continues to urbanize and the developed world shakes
off recession. We are already seeing signs of this.
As the industry works through this difficult economic
phase and looks to position itself for the inevitable
recovery, there has arguably never been a greater
imperative to get the intersection between public policy,
business operations and sustainable development right.
This will be a critical determinant in how we weather
the storm – how we position ourselves for future growth
in doing what we do well – optimising the conversion
of natural capital to societal capital, measured in
environmental, social and financial terms.
In the wake of the financial crisis, there will be a
temptation to fundamentally re-order markets and
re-regulate – this is understandable given the scale and
causes of the downturn. But it is important that the
pendulum does not swing too far in the other direction
ABOVE: Unloading iron-ore. BELOW: Coal mining.
as a counterweight to the current economic malaise.
The current turmoil in the global economy, its product
and capital markets, was an economic storm waiting to
happen. But, within this storm, while there will be some
damage, even wreckage and few really know how long
it is expected to rage. There are signs that the worst of
the carnage has passed, though the impacts are far from
minerals council
over, but we are into a clean-up and rebuilding phase.
We are confident that the underlying fundamentals
of the economic super-cycle are checked but not
compromised, and thus underlying demand for minerals
products remains sound. Demand for minerals will kick
back to or exceed supply, prices are likely to move
rapidly and the challenge for minerals-rich countries is to But much will depend of future policy settings.
ensure that we are well-positioned to work through the The policy responses of the Australian and other
slow-down and to capitalise on the inevitable correction. governments around the world will be the critical
With the right policies in place to support an determinant of the depth and length of the current crisis
industry reknowned for its resilience, adaptability and of confidence in capital and product markets and the
innovativeness, the minerals industry in Australia will global economy as a whole.
emerge stronger and better placed when the inevitable We have strongly advocated a platform of policies
recover occurs. and measures that are likely enduring in their effect
72 INVEST IN AUSTRALIA – INDIA
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