Harnessing new technologies in the mining, oil and gas industries will add A$74 billion ($50 billion) to the Australian economy by 2030 and create more than 80,000 new local jobs, according to a new report from METS Ignited and NERA.
Titled ‘Staying Ahead of the Game Report’, the report says data analytics, automation and robotics technologies continue to transform the resources sector and Australia needs to be at the forefront of technological progress or risk other countries taking the lead.
The report was designed to attempt to predict the nature and scale of how Australia’s resources industries, including both the producers and their supply chains, might change if they fully embraced the latest advances in operational technologies such as analytics, automation and robotics.
It further analysed what these changes mean for employment and workforce development (especially in the operations areas across regional Australia), and the wider economy.
To estimate the impact of these technological changes, the report analysed 30 types of technological innovation considered most relevant and carried out more than four dozen interviews with industry and technology experts to support the findings.
It also laid out a four-step roadmap that, it said, will lead Australia to success. The four steps were around strengthening collaboration, creating and supporting national cross-industry automation technology clusters, expanding the “entrepreneurial ecosystem” and boosting skills and research and development.
Australia’s Minister for Industry, Science and Technology, Karen Andrews, said Australia has one of the most competitive mining, oil and gas industries in the world which will continue to boost its economy as it transforms.
“A vibrant and competitive resources sector is vital to Australia’s economic future and the adoption of Industry 4.0 technologies will be a key driver of industry transformation,” she said. “The use of analytics and robotics not only provides significant safety and environmental benefits, it is also rapidly increasing job opportunities.”
Andrews added: “This kind of technology opens up new, unexplored opportunities for the resources sector and what this report shows is the huge economic opportunity if new technology is embraced.”
The report was produced by METS Ignited and NERA, two industry growth centres established to drive innovation, productivity and competitiveness.
It comes shortly after a A$2 million Future Technology Project Fund was made available through NERA for projects that accelerate the commercialisation of science and technology, improve the uptake of innovative digital technologies, and encourage future investment, productivity and global trade, in the oil, gas and energy sector.