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Commodity prices, skills and supply chain risks the biggest worries for miners

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The annual survey of Australian mining leaders showed commodity risk in first place for the third year in a row with two new risks, the financial risks of decarbonising the supply chain and competition for talent coming into second and third place respectively.

KPMG Australian mining and metals risk assurance leader Caron Sugars said COVID-19 was slipping as a concern in Australia, although not as rapidly as KPMG had seen in its global results.

“Understandable, perhaps, when you consider the consider the different pace of the pandemic domestically,” she said.

“However, the effects of the pandemic are still very much flowing through to supply chain risk, which is now playing in the minds of Australian executives more than it did this time last year.

“There is, perhaps, a growing realisation that the issues created by COVID-19 are not going to be swiftly resolved by policy intervention.”

The global pandemic came in at sixth place while supply chain risk was next at seventh on the order of risk.

Sugars said the survey showed that although Australian mining had an unquestionably pivotal part to play in the transition to a zero-carbon world, it still needed to make a significant ongoing investment in ESG initiatives to establish its social licence to operate.

“Optics around mining’s impact on the environment and cultural heritage continues ton make this path a rocky one,” she said.     

Sugars said the survey found the skills crisis – both for executives and employees on the ground – was seen as a serious factor in limiting the growth of the Australian mining industry.         

“The ‘people problem’ is tied closely to perceptions to mining when considered through an ESG lens,” she said.

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