THE International Mining and Resources Conference (IMARC) returns to Melbourne this year from October 30 to 2 November. Now in its fourth year, IMARC has quickly established itself as Australia’s premier mining and resources conference.

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Robert Friedland
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Diane Jurgens
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Michael Shellenberger

The largest, and the only truly international, resources conference in Australia, this year’s IMARC is expected to see a 20% increase in delegates compared to 2016.

IMARC general manager, Asia Pacific Anita Richards says that every year the conference grows in quality and quantity. “Last year’s IMARC conference saw us play host to more than 2500 delegates from more than 55 countries and this year we expect more than 3000 to attend from at least 60 countries.

“There is no other event in Australia that allows mining professionals to network and engage with so many colleagues in one place.

“As happy as we are with our growing delegate numbers, the real measure of our significance as an event is the calibre of the speakers we’ve attracted. This year’s line-up is genuinely world-class. There are far too many to mention them all, but some of the standouts include Robert Friedland, Rick Rule, Diane Jurgens and Michael Shellenberger.”

Anita Richards says the roster of speakers will provide a broad range of insights on the most pressing issues in mining and resources. “A big focus for us will be exploring some of the latest advances in mining technology, particularly the use of renewable energy in the resources sector.

“Across the globe renewables are at the centre of an energy revolution and the resources sector is a critical player.” Commodities like cobalt, lithium and graphite, all vital elements in the generation and storage of renewable energy, are among the world’s most in demand commodities.

“But what many people may not be as familiar with is the increasing use of renewable energy in mining production and processing. Mine sites are replacing diesel and gas-fired power with large-scale solar plants and energy storage, not only reducing costs but environmental impacts.

“We see this as one of the key trends in the resource sector and as we did last year we’ll be dedicating a day-long conference to examining future energy and finance developments.”

Anita Richards says the addition of a one-day conference on infrastructure was the missing piece of the puzzle for IMARC to cover the entire industry. “Australia has extraordinary natural resources that have played a major role in our consistent economic growth stretching back over more than two decades. However, our resources are only as good as our ability to get them to customers.

“Funding the next generation of road, rail, energy and water infrastructure to keep our resources sector moving is a significant challenge. No doubt, Adani Australia CEO Jeyakumar Janakaraj and Australia-China Belt and Road Initiative CEO Jean Dong will have some fascinating insights on infrastructure during their presentations.

“We’re also very happy to be joined by Federal Minister for Resources and Northern Australia Matt Canavan, as infrastructure investment is most certainly an issue that needs to be tackled collaboratively by both government and the private sector. So often infrastructure, or its absence, is the factor that decides if a project will succeed or fail.”

Tuesday and Wednesday of conference week will see a series of sessions on finance and investment, with some of the best thought leaders in international finance exploring funding issues in the resources sector.

Morning plenary sessions will again kick-start each day of the conference and set the scene for the day ahead.

Day one will see a discussion on ‘The State of the Global Mining Market’ with a focus on strategies to avoid the crippling booms and busts that have hamstrung the industry in recent years.

Day two will cover ‘Creating Value Through Collaboration’, a topic that naturally follows on from day one. Collaboration is a critical aspect of ensuring that greater value is created through the entire mining industry value chain - something that is essential to reigning in the wild swings of the boom and bust cycle.

Day three will see discussions turn to ‘Social and Environmental Responsibility in Mining’. With global activism becoming increasingly sophisticated it is critical that the resources sector take a proactive approach to social and environmental responsibility. Mining businesses must understand and apply the concept of ‘shared value’ – reframing mining as an activity that supports everyone it impacts in a positive way.

The final plenary session will see global mining leaders, METS thought leaders, regulators and government ministers from around the world come together in a series of round tables discussing business issues across different mining regions.

Throughout the three days of the conference, a free exhibition will run in parallel, showcasing the best Australian Mining has to offer.

Anita Richards is confident all delegates will find great value in their attendance. “IMARC is a chance for us to come together as a sector and share ideas, challenges and success stories.

“Miners are a naturally competitive group, so it’s always inspiring to see the biggest names in the resources sector come together and talk about how we can become a better industry.”

IMARC delegates last year were thrilled with their experience. Wirtgen Australia’s mining manager Ross Carter summed up the feeling of many attendees.

“IMARC really delivered,” he said. “With three streams it was difficult to select which one to attend. There was a great mix of industry professionals across education, operations, investment, government and industry suppliers.”

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