Hard Facts and Insider Analysis from Stephen Matchett
“Practices that have damaged the environment and culturally significant sites have impacted on the mining and minerals sector’s reputation and social licence to operate, the Australian Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering, warns
At the peak of the last drought, Uni Wollongong cancelled hosting what was then known as the Coal Operators Conference, which it had done for 20 years (CMM January 23 2020). UoW stated it had “considered the immediate needs of its communities at this time and adjusted its priorities accordingly,” (CMM January 23 2020).
And the following year former National Party deputy PM Mark Vaile withdrew his acceptance of Uni Newcastle’s council invitation to become chancellor, after staff uproar. The problem was not his being a Nat, it was that he chaired a local coal miner (CMM June 22 2021).
When university communities in cities built by mining turn against it, the industry obviously has problems – both in social reputation but also in sourcing the next generation of engineers and researchers.
And ATSE  knows it. “Despite the mining and minerals sector’s central role in the Australian economy and importance in building global sustainability, public perceptions remain poor,” it states in a new position paper.
And it proposes three ways for the industry to dig itself out of trouble.
* “the mining and mineral resources industry should place a higher priority on the research, development and industrial scale deployment of lower-impact mid-stream processing, advanced industry 4.0 technologies to improve operational and environmental efficiencies, and low-carbon processes to increase environmental sustainability.”
* use the UN Sustainable Development Goals, “as a framework to improve the sustainability and safety of operations, processes, and investments.”
* communicate and collaborate: “fostering collaborative partnerships across key sector, research, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander, and other key bodies (such as funders, government, industry, and business) can support innovation, enhance the appeal of careers in minerals and mining, and enable environmentally sustainable, culturally appropriate, and economically rewarding solutions.”
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Hard Facts and Insider Analysis from Stephen Matchett
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