Staying Ahead of the Game: The economic potential of digital technologies in Australia's resources industries

Digital automation technologies in the mining, oil and gas industries could add $74 billion in value to the Australian economy and create over 80,000 new jobs by 2030.

Our report for METS Ignited and NERA analyses the use of the latest automation technologies in Australia’s resources industries to identify their impact and potential opportunities.

Australia has some of the most competitive mining and oil and gas operations in the world. It has the potential to lead the world in the adoption and development of technologies such as data analytics, automation and robotics through its highly competitive resources technology supply chain.

Our analysis of 30 types of technological innovation in mining, oil and gas reveals a tremendous opportunity for Australia. By 2030, digital automation technologies could generate an additional $65 billion in GVA and 77,000 jobs in mining firms, their supply chains and the wider economy, and an additional $9 billion and 5,000 jobs in oil and gas.

However, these benefits are only available if the domestic supply chain adapts to the sector’s automation technology needs. If Australian suppliers lose market share to foreign technology suppliers, an estimated $32 billion of projected benefits and thousands of jobs will be at risk.

A four-step roadmap will lead Australia to success:

  1. Strengthen collaboration: Government, industry, educators and researchers need commit to developing this technology together. A central leadership forum, jointly funded by industry and government, is needed to steer the development of the supply chain.
  2. Create and support national clusters: Cross-industry automation technologies clusters will help technology suppliers network, collaborate, find and develop talent, and explore new business opportunities. International best practice shows that clusters—at the right location, and with the right governance and branding—can facilitate innovation, collaboration and knowledge sharing.
  3. Expand the entrepreneurial ecosystem: Several elements could help primary firms, suppliers and universities produce innovative, market-ready technology, including a joint innovation fund, a joint roadmap, public registries of suppliers, Living Labs, and commercial innovation accelerators.
  4. Boost skills and R&D: Building a strong basis for R&D and skills in emerging automation technologies is a priority if Australia’s resources industries want to remain internationally competitive in the long run. This would also involve developing new cross-industry and cross-community innovation hubs, training programmes and research collaborations in data analytics, automation and robotics.
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