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Sharing the benefits: enhancing Australia’s global leadership in the mining value chain

The case for economic diplomacy investment in resources governance

Jim Redden, Ian Satchwell

This report examines the globalisation of the Australian mining industry, which is often not well understood amongst commentators and policy-makers. The authors find that Australian mining has grown well beyond Australia’s borders, powered by world-leading knowledge and technology, as well as sound governance.

They find, however, that the traditional approaches by the Australian Government to collecting trade and investment data have generally missed this major shift.

Australian mining is now a formidable global enterprise operating in all of the world’s resources regions, and is a world-leading and competitive sector across the value chain, from exploration, to financing and development, to mining and processing, and to mining equipment, technology and services (METS). The skills and technologies deployed by Australian explorers have unearthed trillions of dollars of in-ground value, which then raises questions of how this value can be realised for the benefit of both host nations and company shareholders.

The report finds that unlike Canada, which is the world’s leading mining investment nation in terms of activity by publicly-listed companies, the government’s monitoring of Australian mining investment overseas is inadequate. As a consequence, Australia lags behind Canada in strategic use of mining-related economic diplomacy, including development assistance.

The report examines the position of Australia as a global leader in mining governance, and the opportunities that this provides to support capacity building in resource-rich developing countries, which not only improves the outcomes of mining for these nations and their communities, but also enhances the reputation of, and investment climate for Australia’s mining sector.

Finally, the report explores strategies that the Australian Government and State Governments, together with industry, can undertake in order to enhance the reputation and investment status for Australia’s mining sector wherever it operates.