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News from the German Mining Network (GMN)

After having bottomed out, the Australian mining industry is looking more optimistic once again. Focussing on this new-found optimism, the largest mining trade fair in the region is reopening its doors in Sydney at the end of August. This year, 27 firms will be represented at a shared German stand, almost as many as the record year in 2015. The Australian Centre of Excellence is planning – subject to demand – a series of events during and after the trade fair, such as a visit to the Newcastle Institute of Energy and Resources, as well as an event on the subject of Mining 4.0 and sensors.

The Centre of Excellence for Mining and Raw Materials at the German-Australian Chamber of Industry and Commerce (AHK) took part in this year’s Australian Oil & Gas Conference and Exhibition (AOG), which was held in Perth in February. Compared to last year, the slowed economic development in the oil and gas industry was reflected in a reduced number of participants and exhibitors. Nonetheless, a total of more than 11,000 visitors and 480 exhibitors from 20 countries were present at the Perth Convention and Exhibition Centre, which highlights the importance of the event for the region. The most interesting new feature compared to previous years was a “Collaboration Forum”, in which suppliers and operators could present their latest technological advances and developments.

Brazil’s iron ore production is set to increase over the next few years thanks to the large-scale S11D project. However, owner Vale is cutting back on investments in new projects. Exports of mining products fell in 2016, although not quite as sharply as in the previous year. Imports of mining equipment suffered from mining companies exercising caution when investing.

In the medium term, Brazil’s vast wealth of raw materials offers interesting opportunities. In order to provide a better overview of the Brazilian mining industry, the Centre of Excellence for Mining and Raw Materials at the German-Brazilian Chamber of Industry and Commerce in São Paulo (AHK) has developed an interactive map of the Brazilian mining industry based on a ranking of the top 200 largest mines in the country compiled by the “Minérios & Minerales” magazine in 2015. The database shows which raw materials are mined in which areas and contains detailed information about each mine. The explanations are available in German, English and Portuguese. The data can also be visualised using Google Earth. The map is available to download for free via the following link: http://www.ahkbrasilien.com.br/bergbau/interaktive-karte-bergwerke-brasiliens/

As part of the “Exposibram” trade fair in Belo Horizonte, AHK São Paulo is organising a shared German stand. The following companies will be exhibiting at the shared German stand: Feluwa Pumpen, GEA Westfalia, Herrenknecht, Putzmeister and Zeppelin. The Centre of Excellence for Mining and Raw Materials at AHK São Paulo will also have its own stand (stand C21) at the trade fair.

Exposibram is the most important mining trade fair in Brazil. Alongside the trade fair, a conference which has traditionally received a high level of political attention will also take place to determine the business opportunities available in the sector, as well as to address industry-specific, political and socioeconomic issues.

Chile’s state-owned mining company, Codelco, is currently in crisis and cannot keep pace with private competition where investments are concerned. However, its vast project portfolio and the greater opening up of the private sector in future make Codelco an attractive option for foreign suppliers. A new initiative is intended to combine German high-tech expertise and Chilean mining.

Under the slogan “On the Way to Industry 4.0” and in collaboration with EY, the Centre of Excellence for Mining and Raw Materials at the German-Chilean Chamber of Industry and Commerce (AHK) is organising a series of talks focussing on innovation and technology in Santiago de Chile, on subjects which are highly relevant for the Chilean mining industry, such as big data and sensor technology. An associated “Inspiration Tour” to Germany in September 2017 is intended to make the strategies for handling the challenges of the Fourth Industrial Revolution presented in the series of talks accessible.

The Centre of Excellence for Mining and Raw Materials at the German-Canadian Chamber of Industry and Commerce (AHK) helped organise the second German pavilion at the PDAC 2017, the world’s leading trade fair for the exploration industry with more than 22,000 visitors, and alongside this, held a German Day on the “Future of Mining” together with the German Mineral Resources Agency (DERA) and the Helmholtz Institute Freiberg for Resource Technology (HIF), supported by the German Federation of International Mining (FAB). The German Day gave German companies the opportunity to present innovative technologies in the field of exploration. In cooperation with McKinsey and Siemens, a lunch panel was held to discuss questions on the future of the sector and was followed by two seminars on “Productivity” and “Digital Innovation”.

The Centre of Excellence organised the third delegation visit to Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, which took place from 3rd to 7th April 2017. In addition to a visit to the one-day Mining Supply Chain Forum, which provides information about the purchasing processes of mine operators in the province, the trip also gave German companies the chance to participate in the German pavilion at the trade show, as well as an intensive business-to-business programme. Organised by the Canadian Centre of Excellence and the Ministry of the Economy in Saskatchewan, the delegates had a small meeting with project operators in the field of potash and uranium mining in the province and were given the opportunity to have a one-to-one discussion with representatives from the “Operations” sector. The programme ended with an exclusive evening reception with local representatives of the industry and a tour of an underground mine.

Together with ISSA Mining and the Laurentian University in Sudbury, the Canadian Centre of Excellence is also organising the first expert workshop on the subject of “Vision Zero: Challenges and recent developments in mining occupational health and safety”, which is being held on 28th and 29th June 2017 in Sudbury. Mining solutions providers specialising in the field of occupational health and safety and prevention are invited. Innovative products and solutions from both countries will be presented and discussed in several workshops. The aim of the event is to exchange experience and best practices, obtain an overview of the state of the art in both countries and identify potential areas for more intensive cooperation.

The Centre of Excellence for Mining and Raw Materials at the German-Peruvian Chamber of Industry and Commerce (AHK) will be attending the most important mining trade fair in Peru with an info point and a specialist workshop on process optimisation from 18th to 22nd September 2017. EXTEMIN is taking place for the 33rd time and is organised by the Instituto de Ingenieros de Minas del Perú (Institute of Mining Engineers of Peru). Twenty-two German companies will be taking part in the German pavilion. Overall, approximately 40 German providers will participate in the trade fair via stands and representatives.

Southern Africa
This year’s annual Mining Indaba was held from 6th to 9th February in Capetown/South Africa. The “Investing in African Mining Indaba” is the world’s largest mining investor conference and the most important mining event in Africa. Representatives of the Centre of Excellence for Mining and Raw Materials of the German Chamber of Industry and Commerce for Southern Africa visited the Indaba and used the event not only as a networking platform, but also as a forum for gathering information about the market and observing current developments and trends in the industry.

On behalf of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy (BMWi), Afrika-Verein-Veranstaltungs-GmbH is undertaking a market reconnaissance trip to Yaoundé and Douala in Cameroon on the subject of mining and raw materials for companies based in Germany from 19th to 23rd June 2017.

The German Mineral Resources Agency (DERA), part of the Federal Institute for Geosciences and Raw Materials (BGR) has been publishing a “Chart of the month” on issues related to raw materials since January 2017 (Figure 1). In addition to important topical issues relating to the raw materials markets – such as the anticipated price of mineral raw materials in April – the respective charts also pick up on the results of studies. The graphics in the charts are available for use by associations and the media and for inclusion in their publications.

Fig. 1. Chart of the month for April. Source/Quelle: DERA

On 16th March 2017, the European Parliament passed the Conflict Minerals Regulation. It will implement due diligence obligations in relation to raw materials across the EU. The regulation makes provisions for voluntary regulation of the downstream sector – from the smelting plant to the manufacturer of the end product.

The change in the demand for raw materials caused by digitalisation and the energy transition brings with it significant opportunities for countries with rich reserves of raw materials. At a joint event on 18th January 2017, the Federation of German Industry (BDI) and the German Society for International Cooperation (GIZ) discussed how developing countries can profit from this change in demand. The event was the opening of the CONNEX Support Unit in Berlin. (GMN/Si.)