The future of mining in Australia - The challenges and opportunities

April 3, 2023
ESG Insights

The trip also provided Ethical Partners with the opportunity to meet with numerous technical experts on the material and critical issues facing mining today, including safety, mining decarbonisation, cultural heritage, transition minerals, and the development of innovative technologies. It also afforded our team the ability to better understand pertinent issues relating to waste and water management, tailings dams, nature and biodiversity impacts, and sexual harassment and mental health management on site.

Ethical Partners believes that the opportunity to visit operations, spend extended time with management and better understanding these issues is an invaluable way to both better analyse and understand our investments. We look to incorporate these risks and opportunities into our EPORA investment process and portfolio construction. This gives us real opportunities for direct and powerful engagements with the companies on their progress on sustainability goals.

As such, this trip afforded our team with further insights into the context in which Australian mining companies are operating, the opportunities for the future in mining transition metals and the challenges that must be addressed in order to do so in a responsible and ethical manner.

During our tour, Ethical Partners was able to speak directly with both cultural heritage experts and the Chair and CEO of the Tjiwarl Aboriginal Corporation (TAC),  a membership organisation for the Native Title Holders for the area that incorporates Bellevue Gold, Liontown Resources’ Kathleen Valley Lithium Mine, and IGO’s Cosmos development.

- The trip also afforded our team the chance to better understand the decarbonisation plans and Net Zero ambitions of all three companies visited or engaged with. In terms of seizing the opportunities of the energy transition, it was also beneficial to better understand how both IGO and LTR see themselves as key enablers in the future of electrification, energy storage and renewable energy generation through the provision of critical minerals.

- The huge impact of mining on the environment is clear. What is also clear is that, in order to facilitate the energy transition, we need to invest in mining operations that are actively, ambitiously and genuinely working to mitigate that impact as quickly and as powerfully as possible.

- Our team was therefore very keen to discuss how some of the companies visited on this trip are actively working to reduce their environmental impact.

- The deteriorating safety performance across ASX listed mining companies, partly due to heightened labour shortages and increased contracting workforces, has been an increasing concern at Ethical Partners, and is one of our key priorities for engagement over the coming year.

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