Australian mining sector at ‘transition point’, finds KPMG report

Australia’s mining sector finds itself at a key ‘transition point’, with concerns over commodity price volatility rising to the fore in the COVID-19 climate, according to KPMG’s Australian Mining Risk Forecast 2020/21 report.

Climate change, natural disasters and commodity price risks were listed as key concerns by 46% of mining executives questioned in Australia.

Australian mining companies also highlighted concern about impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on the physical and mental health of the mining workforce and mining communities and understood the requirement to manage cyber risks with more people working remotely.

“The Australian mining sector now finds itself at a transition point,” said KPMG partner and mining risk specialist Caron Sugars.

“Miners must closely monitor and manage the ongoing health crisis presented by COVID-19 but mining executives must also continue their focus on the medium to long term.”

The need to address climate change – even during the pandemic – would encourage some commodities such as copper and battery minerals to have increased demand, according to Sugars.

KPMG global and Australian mining sector leader Trevor Hart said amplified price risk and volatility, digital transformation, new ways to work and increased focus on ESG are the primary focuses for both the Australian and global mining sectors.

“We believe commodity prices will be volatile for the foreseeable future as COVID-19 and geopolitical impacts reverberate through global commodity demand and supply,” he said.