Technology makes the world go round, and Austmine, which is in the unique position of representing the mining technological industry within Australia, helps that along. They see themselves as the key industry interface for those working in one of the most innovative sectors in the country, one that has created a demand both nationally and internationally for the products they have created. Robert Trzebski, Executive Officer at the association, says he is extremely impressed by the motivation and the applications of technology that Australians are using. “Austmine is the Australian export association of suppliers of mining technology, service and equipment. It is the industry body that has been in the market for 21 years,” says Trzebski. “It is also a not for profit organisation that basically promotes its members capabilities throughout numerous markets in the world.” Austmine at present boasts 120 member companies, with each company having its own focus and size, Trzebski says. “They can be an SME, or a large multinational, but the important link is that they are all exporters. They export the best that Australia has to offer in mining technology and service.” They are guided by a board of 12 directors, have three full-time staff members, and conduct all of their operations from their office in Sydney. “It’s a smaller operation,” says Trzebski.
“It is in best practices that Australia really leads the world,” says Trzebski. “In the mining industry Australia provides the most, the smartest and the best mining technologies to the world.” He says that with the changes that the industry has been going through, many producers are finding it more and more difficult to secure commodities and the process of getting those minerals is becoming more expensive as well. Among the companies that Austmine represents, Trzebski believes that each one can contribute to the lowering of those operational costs, and that will increase the financial feasibility of their mining activities. To this end, Austmine is committed to raising the level of the export of Australian technology, goods and services from where it stood in 2003 at $2 billion to at least to $6 billion in the near future.
Trzebski became involved in Austmine around six years ago, when it was managed under the New South Wales Business Chamber. With its national and international focus, Austmine has become completely independent within the last year, and moved offices. He says that the membership has grown in the last five years from just under 50 companies represented, to the 120 that they sit at now. “We were in a healthy financial position so we were able to become independent,” he says. They now operate as a fully-independent marketing and networking organisation, promoting members’ capabilities through their website, a directory that they print annually, online and hard copy publications, and events that they organise. “These events are held with technicians and technical support staff, and they will be held anywhere from Mozambique, Kazakhstan, or Russia. We also participate at various exhibitions, and every two years we hold the Austmine conference and exhibition. This year it was held in Brisbane and marks our fifth edition of the conference,” says Trzebski.
As another function, they work and lobby all levels of government, making sure their members’ voices and issues are heard. “With the State Governments, particularly in the case of Queensland, we also can work with or influence these organisations,” he says. He also states that they are looking at ways to expand their influence and service areas, and toward that aim they are examining the possibilities of opening a branch in New Zealand. “It is a work in progress. We do want to expand, but with the earthquake and the other disasters in New Zealand, things have slowed down. We are still hoping to have an office there by next year.”
“Austmine members want to improve the operations of any given mine. This could be improvements in the productivity of operations, cost efficiencies, and of course being safer and more environmentally sustainable,” says Trzebski. These goals have a universal application to the mining sector, no matter the geographical location of an operation. Exporting technology, ideas, and even consultants means that the Australian knowledge base is easily implemented around the world. “These four points are the priority for everyone in the mining space.” And these are the four points that every member in Austmine can contribute to in the operation of clients’ mining sites.