Indonesia remains a highly important market for Australia, according to Australian Trade Commission executive director – South Asia, ASEAN and the Pacific, David Twine.
Speaking after a very successful Ozmine 2011 in Jakarta, David Twine says that in a recent Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics (ABARE) research project, Indonesia was rated, by a significant margin, the most important export market for Australia’s mining, equipment and technology (METS) services companies.
“Ozmine showcases the best of Australian METS capability. It also highlights opportunities for collaboration and co-operation between the Australian and Indonesian industries, not just in Indonesia, but what we can do together in other locations regionally and globally.
“At the conference, we share new technology, skills and knowledge, case studies and our experience of what works in the field. Then of course, at the exhibition this is matched by practical examples, with Australian mining equipment, technology and services companies showcasing their products/services. All of this makes a difference to the mining sector in both countries because it ensures that we are moving forward together.
“One concrete example of how the event is making a difference is that last year, we brought together for the first time, many of the provincial/local government mining agencies in Indonesia to hear first-hand from organizations about their issues and needs. This was useful for both sides as Ozmine provided a platform for questions to be asked and issues to be investigated and dealt with accordingly.
“Past feedback from delegates to Ozmine has been very positive and the feedback this year was no different. One Australian company said that we had set a new benchmark with our event and another local delegate advised us that he thought that Ozmine was now the premier mining conference in Indonesia. We’re very happy with that feedback. It shows us that we’re on the right track.”
Commenting on the strength of Indonesia’s mining industry, David Twine said that mining is big business for Indonesia and big business for Australian mining firms in Indonesia. He said Australia’s foreign minister Kevin Rudd also mentioned this in his speech at Ozmine.
“We have seen massive growth in the Indonesian mining sector - they have now overtaken Australia in the export of thermal coal in volume terms. Indonesia is also a major producer of gold, tin, copper and nickel. As the Indonesian mining sector continues to grow and develop, it is very important for Australia to continue to play an active role in the industry, and Ozmine certainly assists in this regard.
“On the regulatory side the Indonesian Mining Law has now been in place for a couple of years. There were some concerns about its impact initially, however Australian companies continue to operate very successfully in Indonesia adding real value to the Indonesian economy as well as local communities. We certainly encourage individual businesses to get legal advice about their specific circumstances and potential direct impact as the situation varies from company to company.
“Most of the major mining companies have significant plans for further exploration and development of mining in Indonesia. As Minister Rudd mentioned during his speech, Newcrest has a US$1.5 billion gold/silver investment in Indonesia. Orica will bring on-line a US$550 million ammonium nitrate plant in East Kalimantan in late 2011. Major Australian mining contractors like Leighton, Laing O’Rourke and Thiess are also undertaking a range of projects.
“There is a lot more to be done and ongoing international demand for Indonesian minerals will ensure that Australia remains an important partner for these companies and the Indonesian mining sector,” David Twine says.
Ozmine 2011 was the fifth annual event and the biggest exhibition so far. Austrade decided to expand the trade show and conference this year and collaborated with the Indonesian Ministry of Mines and Energy to bring together mining officials from six ASEAN Governments - Laos, Thailand, Vietnam, the Philippines, Malaysia and Indonesia - to share their experiences and expertise and contribute to a greater dialogue between ASEAN mining officials and the Australian mining industry. David Twine says, “I think this was very fitting as it is just one more strong example of ASEAN, as it moves towards a single economic market, focusing collective attention on issues, shared learnings and partnership opportunities across areas and sectors of common priority, of which mineral resources is clearly one of the regional pillars.”
Commenting on the ‘export’ of Australian mining expertise and technology, he said: “The scale of Australia’s resource industry has helped Australia become a world leader in the development and manufacture of METS. Australian firms are competitive right across the supply chain, from exploration and engineering to, minerals processing, environmental management, mine safety, R&D and training.
“For example, Australian companies design and manufacture large capital items such as mining trucks, and 60% of the world’s mines use mining software that was developed in Australia. An estimated 2440 businesses operate in the Australian mining industry, directly and indirectly employing around 320,000 people. In total the sector generates sales of Aus$12 billion annually, and Aus$2.5 billion worth of exports.”