PumpEng at Austmine 2023
Christine Gibbs Stewart is the CEO of Austmine. In this interview, she highlights the themes of the 2023 Austmine industry event. She discusses the speakers, the theme and what the mining community can expect. Christine was present at MINExpo in Las Vegas in 2021 when the innovative JetGuard pump was first launched to a global audience. She shares how that Australian innovation was received.
How do you describe the Austmine event for someone who hasn't attended?
Austmine is the premier mining innovation event globally. We have a keen focus on innovation and technology. We're showcasing the best of what Australia has to offer. The event is an opportunity for the mining and innovation community to come together, see old friends, meet new friends, and meet with key decision-makers. There's a lot of energy and discussion, and it's focused on those critical strategic issues that are being discussed in the mining industry today.
What is the theme of this year's event?
The theme of the conference is transforming our future. We're looking into the future, seeing where we need to be. We are looking at the key levers we have to achieve the type of future we want for our industry. We commit to this so that we, as an industry, can meet the expectations of future generations and ensure our industry is sustainable going into the future.
How is this year's event different from previous Austmine events?
At every Austmine event, we like to have a lot of new features. In 2023 we're having some interactive discussion sessions, which we're calling our collaboration laboratories. Those are focused on looking at where we want mining to be. From those discussions involving the audience and mining speakers about the newest technology, we will bring all those ideas together, synthesise them, and publish a paper after the conference.
We'll also have an area on the floor for our innovation exchange. In that area, we'll be able to have small-group discussions looking at some of the key challenges the mining industry is facing. It will be a focal point for mining companies, particularly for international delegations of miners coming from international locations.
We also hope to link the conference to the Arkani Ngura Innovation Centre. This facility is the new underground innovation centre. We might go there virtually and learn more about it at the conference.
Can you describe the sorts of people you expect to attend?
We get a wide range of people to our conferences. We'll get a lot of chief innovation officers, chief technology officers, and operational people at all levels. Of course, the METS (mining equipment, technology, and services) companies, the backbone and the innovation engine of mining, will be there. There will be a wide range of people from METS companies.
We also hope to attract a lot of students to the conference. We want to be able to show students, both high school and university students, the forward-thinking and progressive nature of the mining industry. The attendees will cover all parts of the mining innovation ecosystem, from the METS companies, miners, universities, academia, research, and government.
What do you think the miners will get from attending the event?
First and foremost, we will showcase the best of what Australia offers in the METS sector. The suppliers are there. It'll be a location where they can come and see all the latest technology, the newest transformations, and the latest solutions.
They'll be able to liaise with the suppliers. They'll be able to learn more about what is happening in the mining industry, and they'll be able to meet with people not only from Australia but internationally. We expect a lot of international visitors, especially international miners. Miners will be able to compare notes about what's happening around the world.
Who are the guest speakers, and what will they be presenting?
We have so many great speakers. I'm excited about them all, but a few stand out. For instance, we have Dr Cathy Foley, Australia's Chief Scientist. She will be on a panel looking at the critical building blocks of 2030 and beyond. We also have Enrico Palermo, the head of the Australian Space Agency. He will be on a panel discussion entitled To the Moon and Back: Applications Beyond Mining.
We're going to look at all the great technology that mining has and look at it through the lens of different industries and how we can apply what we're doing in mining, our advancements in mining to, for instance, off-world applications. We've just announced that Mark Cutifani, the former CEO of Anglo American, will join us. He will join us in a section called Reflections of Industry Leaders.
How do you imagine this content presented is relevant to the day-to-day workings of mine managers?
I guess from a mine manager's point of view, they're going to come, and they're going to see new solutions to the problems that they're having. It could be operational issues, but it might also be more on the strategic side of things. It might be issues involving a network or point solutions that they're looking for.
As we look into the future and look at those strategic things, we need to do to ensure our industry is more sustainable. These are elements like innovation and attracting younger people to the industry. This information will help managers plan. They'll be able to plan how mines will run in the future and know who can support them in terms of the goals they set for themselves in making sure their mine is efficient. How will they make their mine environmentally friendly? How will it be accepted in the community and working with the community?
What is the cost of attending?
We have different attendance fees depending on who you are and what you're doing. Attendance costs about $2,000. But if you register for the conference before the 17th of February, it's around the $1,600 mark. There are a couple of packages that you can get.
Austmine is also around the same time as the one-day Copper to the World Conference, which will be useful for many industry people.
Register for Austmine 2023
How many attendees are you expecting at the conference and exhibition?
We hope to have about 1500 to 2000 attendees come along, and we'll have about a hundred exhibitors.
Will there be opportunities to connect with other professionals in the mining industry?
It's all about connecting, whether meeting somebody on the exhibition floor or sitting next to somebody at the conference. We have a lot of opportunities to get together to have drinks, a more social environment.
As part of the conference, we have our industry leaders and awards dinner on Wednesday night. That usually attracts about a thousand people. It's a great opportunity to catch up with people in a more informal environment, get to know them, and talk about what is on everyone's mind and what's important to them.
Is the conference location convenient and easy to get to access?
Adelaide provides an excellent location for the conference for several reasons. First of all, it's easy and convenient to get around. The conference centre is state of the art, and there are a lot of hotels close, so it's easy to get to and from the conference centre itself. Many flights from all over Australia and the world are coming to Adelaide.
Then Adelaide, and South Australia in general, has a real focus on innovation. There's a vibrant startup community there. There is also a focus from the government on the energy transition, renewables and a lot of investment there. In a critical part of our conference, we'll be talking about renewables, new forms of energy and decarbonisation because that's important to the mining industry.
Attending the conference is also a great chance to visit some of the beautiful wine regions around Adelaide.
What do you think this event offers over other industry events in the year's calendar?
Austmine is an event that focuses on innovation. It showcases the Australian METS sector. You won't see pavilions from other markets there. It's really about showcasing what we have to offer. For Austmine, it's a key strategic play to continue to promote our leadership in mining innovation, in mining technology and to be able to showcase that to the world.
Can you comment on where you see PumpEng in this picture of Australian innovation?
PumpEng is an excellent example of an innovative METS company, and that's what we love. They've been members for many years and always showcase what they do, doing new things. I worked firsthand with PumpEng when they exhibited at MINExpo in Las Vegas in 2021.
People saw the JetGuard pump on display there; the feedback was fantastic. Remember, this was international feedback from people all over the world. PumpEng is undoubtedly one of those exciting companies, and we're very proud to have them as part of our network. Their innovative products contribute positively to sustainability by introducing continuous improvement processes into mine dewatering.