Austmine Member Survey - The Results are in! What lies ahead?
In January 2015, we conducted a short member survey in order to get a feel for the year ahead directly from your industry peers. The respondents came from all over Australia, although WA and NSW came up top in the number of participants.
Where is your focus in 2015 for business opportunities, be it new business or expansion of existing clients?
There was an interesting range of responses to this question, showing how diverse METS organisations’ focuses are in the current market climate. The top response was in fact non-mining industries, although this only received one more vote than the second most popular option – Australia’s east coast mining operations. It is worth noting that most of the companies opting for non-mining were companies who are already diversified into other sectors, so could not be accused of ‘abandoning’ the mining industry in the tough times. There was a lot of interest in a variety of overseas regions, including the Americas, Russia, South East Asia and the Middle East. For anyone else interested in these areas, don’t forget Austmine has missions to Russia, Brazil, Vietnam and Cambodia in 2015, plus the USA in 2016 for MINExpo!
What will be the biggest challenge for Australian METS companies in 2015?
Obviously 2014 was a really tough year for miners and METS. Opinion seems divided across the industry about whether 2015 will be slightly better, or even worse. Views were also conflicting on what the biggest challenge would be in the year ahead. Coming in lower down the list were the cost of operating business in Australia, a lack of communication from mining companies on their needs and procurement processes and increasing competition from overseas METS. These were interesting, as in an industry-wide survey of the METS sector that Austmine conducted in 2013, the cost of operating a business in Australia and increasing competition from overseas were listed as two of the top challenges. Clearly the market has moved on over the last 18 months in what they perceive as the greatest threats. The second biggest challenge, as voted for by Austmine members, was the very noticeable lack of available new mine projects. Here in Australia, Adani’s Carmichael Project is the only mega-project getting suppliers excited (and of course that still needs the final EPA before it all goes ahead), so this was not a surprising response. The winner was even less surprising – the ever fluctuating resource prices. Even in January the iron ore price plummeted to a 5 year low, when January historically would see iron ore at or near its peak price for the year. Certainly for our bulk commodities, 2015 is unlikely to bring much relief in pricing.
What is the most important focus area for Australian METS business strategy in 2015?
This question interestingly had the most respondents in agreement. There were a few who opted for the responses "identifying new markets for growth" and "innovation and R&D for new product or process development", but the overwhelming answer from participants was "working more closely with clients in order to understand their needs better". As an industry body, one of Austmine's core focuses for 2015 is collaboration within the sector, particularly between miners and METS, so it was great to see our members also reinforcing this attitude. It is so critical for the future competitiveness of the mining industry here in Australia that the productivity imperative is addressed, which can only be achieved through a closer working relationship between miners and METS.
In 2015 Austmine will start a free industry webinar series, with monthly webinars featuring speakers from mining companies, research institutes, government and leading METS organisations. What topics would you like to see featured?
For those who are interested in attending our free webinars this year, the top requested topics (and therefore those we will be endeavouring to feature throughout the year) were:
- Innovation – culture and implementation across the mining value chain
- Mining company project updates
- Sales and marketing strategies for METS
- Mining procurement – a purchaser’s perspective
You can check out our planned webinar schedule at any time online at www.austmine.com.au/webinars