Forum’s Mission

MINEX Russia Forum sees its main mission in organising a dialogue between all interested parties in the development of the agile mining industry of the future

About the Forum

MINEX Russia Forum was established in 2005 as an independent, impartial international event platform, not connected with the interests of individuals, companies or organisations. The Forum is dedicated to discussing the problems and development prospects of the mining industry. The Forum offers opportunities for unbiased presentation and exchange of views, experiences, and technologies.

The Forum is open to participants from both public and private sector organisations, as well as international communities and academic institutions. When we prepare the Forum agenda, we make every effort for creating balanced, without any preferences, presentations of experiences, opinions, and knowledge of subsoil management. Moral and intellectual integrity is at the heart of everything the MINEX Forum does.

Main Themes of the Forum

The more stable is the foundation, the more stable is the entire structure. The development of the mining industry is impossible without four fundamental pillars: technology, people, regulation, and finance. Understanding how to develop these pillars requires ongoing brainstorming involving companies, regulators, investors, academics, and civil society. MINEX Russia Forum offers such a platform. The issues discussed at the Forum are not limited only to the specifics of the mining industry. It is open for the exchange of cross-industry experience.

Technology

Progress is impossible without the introduction of new technologies that enable companies to overcome challenges and create added value. With the transition to Industry 4.0 technologies, mining companies will not only improve production and increase efficiency. The technological transformation changes the role of the mining industry in the global economy.

According to the CEO of Anglo American, one of the largest diversified mining companies, a decade ago the company’s activities were limited to “digging holes”. Looking 10 to 20 years into the future it sees itself becoming a “materials solutions” company integrated into the circular economy to fight climate change and adjusting its portfolio to the needs of society.

The owners and managers of mining companies, in addition to solving current production problems, must systematically develop a system of competencies to ensure stability, competitiveness, and the future of their business. These new competencies, among many others, could include the development of recycling technologies, the use of renewable energy sources, the production of composite materials.

Finance

Modernisation of the mining industry is impossible without “cheap and long money”. Production modernisation, infrastructure development, geological exploration, personnel training, and other fundamental investments required to run a mining company, are costly and take time to make financial returns. Prior to the 2008 global financial crisis, most mining companies raised finance in global capital markets. Because of the crisis, many investors chose to “get out of the game”, which led to a sharp drop in the share prices and “freeze” development projects. In the resulting financial vacuum, alternative sources of financing began to form. One of them is a cryptocurrency, which until recently was perceived as exotic and a bubble. This attitude is changing very quickly in connection with the removal of restrictions on investment in cryptocurrencies of “long” money from pension and insurance funds. The upcoming restructuring of the global financial system, actively discussed by financial institutions, will test the viability of cryptocurrencies in the funding mining industry. Some companies are already experimenting with issuing cryptocurrencies tied to real assets. Some are quite successful at this.

Industry Transformation

The mining industry plays a fundamental role in global production. Key sectors of the economy depend on the extraction of minerals, including energy, agriculture and food industries, construction, transport, mechanical engineering, communications, and others.

We are currently experiencing an era of tectonic changes, multiply accelerated by the coronavirus pandemic. The world’s financial and economic system, reorganised in the middle of the 20th century, is unable to effectively address the challenges facing humanity. Global economy restructuring or, possibly, full re-set is coming. The development of “Industry 4.0” technologies happening before our eyes is making a revolution, changing the role and place of humans in manufacturing, extraction of natural resources and services. The real threat of irreversible climate change requires an urgent reduction of the environmental footprint of industrial activities.

The solution to all these problems is impossible without the use of metals and minerals. Taking into account the global depletion of resources and decline of ore quality, a fundamental transformation of the mining industry at all levels is required. Without changes, a sustainable provision of metals and minerals required to build an environmentally “conscious” economy will be hard to achieve.

When developing new business models, it is important to avoid costly mistakes. The mining industry today is complex, multifaceted, and interconnected. Only by combining the intellectual resources of specialists from all strata of the professional society, it is possible to assess the risks and make competent decisions.

Human Resources

Even the smartest technology will not work without human input, at least initially. What technological solutions will be effective and sustainable in the foreseeable future? How will they integrate into the overall production and consumption? What special skills are required to run a modernised enterprise? What to do with the freed-up human resources, which have been replaced by automated systems? Without strategic planning that takes into account the human factor, enterprises are doomed to continue operating in a “bush fire” fighting mode. This is not the most effective method.

Regulation

One of the mega-trends shaping the overall development of the mining industry is the increasing restriction of access to natural resources. Globalisation is being replaced by the regionalisation.

Not long ago, the world economy was divided into countries specialising in the extraction and supply of mineral raw materials, and countries that use raw materials to create products of the so-called high added value. The spread of the coronavirus has led to a reduction and, in some cases, to a complete halt in mining operations.

As a result, the production of cars and equipment has decreased, mechanical engineering and construction have suffered. Many countries are facing pressures to ensure sustainable access to critical raw materials. This leads to reshaping trade partnerships, accumulation of strategic materials, and development of mineral resources close to industrial clusters. On this backdrop, some countries endowed with in mineral resources, are making a U-turn by changing their policies towards resource nationalism and undermining Foreign Direct Investment in mining and other extractive sectors. In addition to regulatory changes at the national level, new industry-wide standards are emerging to address global challenges such as climate change. Any important decision of regulators and legislators requires a balanced discussion with the participation of all interested parties. Miscalculations and distortions by policy makers can lead to even greater problems.

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