On 16 October, Australia’s mining capital was honoured with a visit by Professor Göran Roos. A second opportunity to hear Prof Roos, after 2018’s successful Innovation in Mining event, also hosted by the Swedish Australian Chamber of Commerce in Western Australia.

On this occasion, we learnt of the regularity of global paradigm shifts; a transition of fundamental global patterns that of course does not happen overnight. The fifth of which, we are currently experiencing in the modern world. The changes we are looking at entail the reduction of our environmental footprint, increase of digital presence in all areas of life, and the use of as little energy as possible.

Each paradigm comes with its dependencies (think coal and fossil fuels). What will this transition mean for Earth’s resources? All paradigm shifts have historically come with consequences, and it’s a necessary point to make that this one will be no different.

In moving towards a greener world, we will become more dependent on metals, including rare earth metals such as dysprosium and neodymium (two rare earth metals that play a central role in the production of wind turbines for example). A dependency as such is entirely new for the world.

Knowing all this, how can we adjust the mining industry to facilitate for future demand?

First, there is the requirement of dialogue between the private and public sectors. There is an immediate need for directionality – governments are essentially market makers that must, with careful deliberation, manage restrictions and guidelines for where we are heading in accordance with the appropriate scientists.

SACC WA would like to thank Prof Roos for the insightful presentation. We would also like to thank SCANIA and SSAB, who very generously sponsored the event, as well as Ernst & Young for hosting us.

Needless to say, we look forward to Prof Roos’ next visit.