With an estimated 40 million people engaged in artisanal and small-scale mining (ASM) globally, the much maligned and somewhat hidden industry has a significant impact on the global mining economy.

 

Raising the bar for minesite accommodation, BHP proved it was focused on the bigger picture when it unveiled its revamped Mulla Mulla village for fly-in, fly-out (FIFO) workers last month, located 130km north-west of Newman in Western Australia. 

When the Queensland Government legislated the management of fly-in, fly-out workforce arrangements in 2017, it underscored a long simmering debate in Australia’s large mining states over the obligations of miners to the regional communities they operate in and near. 

 

In the face of mounting regulations and drawn out approvals processes, the mining industry has doubled down on its calls to slash red tape and allow more investment to flow into the sector. 

Earlier this year the Australian gold price tipped over the $2000 mark for the first time in its history, signifying a growing sense of con dence in the commodity.

As the United States and China continue their trade war, the latter’s ‘real and present threat’ to stifle the global rare earths supply chain has Australian miners hopeful a crisis will bring about new opportunities.

While excitement around Western Australia’s burgeoning battery minerals sector continues to gain momentum, analysts have warned local industry against a gung-ho approach to downstream processing.

The announcement of major iron ore projects by the big three miners has been heralded by many as a clear indication the mining industry is back in gear.

Having ridden out one of the resources sector’s most notable downturns, growth is back on the agenda as miners enjoy rising cash flows and higher commodity prices, but companies have so far taken a cautious approach.

Australia is endowed with a rich geological bounty and leads the world in mineral exploration.