Australia’s mining professionals blame the sector’s association with the fossil fuels industry for contributing to negative public perceptions more than their counterparts in India, South Africa or North America.
According to the Innovation: State of Play report, released on Tuesday by consulting firm VCI, 16 per cent of the Australian mining professionals surveyed ranked mining’s association with the “fossil fuels industry” as the reason the industry was perceived negatively in society.
It was the highest result for the link to fossil fuels in any region and ranked second among issues facing the Australian mining industry behind “environmental impact”, which scored highest in every region. VCI surveyed more than 800 global mining professionals, about 70 per cent of which work at an executive level, from 321 companies.
Of the 800 professionals, 239 were Australian-based employees from companies including Rio Tinto, BHP Billiton, South32 and Fortescue Metals Group. VCI founding partner Graeme Stanway said mining was “getting packed with the climate change issue” in Australia, largely due to a heavy focus on the coal sector.
“Big mining in Australia is associated with coal so the environmental perception is dragging mining down, that’s the feedback, and is quite stark compared to other countries where people view mining much more broadly than coal,” Mr Stanway said.
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