Austmine, Events, Features

A dawning copper future

copper to the world

The upcoming Copper to the World conference will bring together people across the industry to power up the Australian copper sector. 

As a highly efficient electrical conductor, it’s well understood that copper has a vital role to play in the global shift towards renewable energy.

As is the case with so many commodities, Australia has vast stores of copper and is well-placed to capitalise on a growing global demand. But with demand predicted to outstrip supply in coming years, there are tangible challenges within the copper sector that need to be overcome before the industry can truly prosper. And where better to tackle these industry problems than in South Australia, the country’s own heart of copper? 

The Copper to the World conference, to be held in Adelaide from June 18–19, will bring the mining industry together to discuss the future of this valuable commodity. 

Held in partnership with Austmine, the SA Government and principal partner BHP, the conference will spotlight technologies and strategies employed by world-class copper producers, with the aim of turning Australia into a safe, sustainable and successful copper nation.

Austmine chief executive officer Christine Gibbs Stewart told Safe to Work that the conference is sharply focused on technology and innovation, looking at more ways to move the dial when it comes to meeting global copper demand. 

“The fundamental question of this conference is: what are the key factors for success for a world-class copper operation?” Gibbs Stewart said. 

“Australia has the expertise and skills needed to create a sustainable and successful copper nation, but we need to come together and learn from other world-class copper producers and share how we can better tackle the challenges the industry is facing.

“Copper to the World will bring together innovation gurus in their fields who are looking to disrupt how we do things and discuss how we are going to be able to meet demand for this critical mineral into the future.”

With the theme of ‘Innovating for a sustainable future’, Copper to the World will unite key players, industry experts, technology leaders and global producers to discuss the innovation levers available to find new deposits, develop assets quickly and increase production, all while limiting costs and meeting decarbonisation targets. 

Driving down energy consumption in copper processing is a particular issue that is set to be dissected at the event.

“Copper is a very energy-intensive industry, so we’ll be looking at new processing techniques to drive down energy consumption,” Gibbs Stewart said. “There’s new copper processing technology coming out of Queensland, as well as some really great stuff happening in SA in terms of in-situ leaching.” 

With SA home to over 70 per cent of Australia’s known copper resources, it’s the perfect home for such an event. And of all the copper players in the state, perhaps none are as recognisable as BHP, which will have a prominent presence at Copper to the World. 

As principal event partner, BHP will be featured in a number of sessions and will share important developments about its business in SA.  

But Copper to the World is not just for the big players. Gibbs Stewart described it as the perfect place for companies of all sizes and Austmine’s mining equipment, technology and services (METS) sector partners to come together, network and learn from one another. 

“Not only will we hear from the copper producers, but the exhibition and conference presentations will feature the technologies, services and skills our world-leading METS companies provide,” Gibbs Stewart said.

“All of this combined will form conversations around how SA can become one of the leading copper producers globally.” 

“There is a tremendous amount of highly skilled METS companies there, and I think it’s really getting people interested in the SA copper story.”

Beyond BHP, Austmine has lined up a host of experienced speakers to share their knowledge with attendees.

Rio Tinto managing director – group technical Craig Stegman, Aeris Resources executive chair André Labuschagne and non-executive director Jacqui McGill, and OK Tedi chief executive officer Kedi Ilimbit are just some of the professionals taking the stage. The conference will also spotlight home-grown companies like Hillgrove Resources, Rex Minerals and Havilah Resources.

Austmine is encouraging everyone involved in the mining industry to join in the discussions. This includes investors who might not only have interest in copper, but also the latest mining technology.

“We know investors are not only interested in copper, but the technologies used to find, extract and process copper, which some are classing as clean tech,” Gibbs Stewart said. 

“Copper to the World will provide a great platform to explore both.” 

Copper to the World will take place at the Adelaide Convention Centre from June 18–19 June.

This feature also appears in the May-June issue of Safe to Work.

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