Climate and natural disasters a major worry for Aussie miners

CLIMATE change, natural disasters and commodity prices are seen as the biggest risks for Australian miners heading into FY21.
Climate and natural disasters a major worry for Aussie miners Climate and natural disasters a major worry for Aussie miners Climate and natural disasters a major worry for Aussie miners Climate and natural disasters a major worry for Aussie miners Climate and natural disasters a major worry for Aussie miners

Staff reporter

According to KPMG Australia's Mining Risk Forecast 2020/21, climate change and natural disasters and commodity price risk were both named by 46% of respondents as the top concern.

Commodity price risk was named as the top concern in the global edition of the survey, launched in March.

"Price and currency hedging, together with cashflow management practices, will be critical business risk management mechanisms to curb downside risk of price volatility," KPMG partner and mining risk specialist Caron Sugars said.

Other major concerns were for Australian miners were a global trade war, economic downturn, and regulatory and compliance change burden.

The survey of mining company leaders was conducted in January, before COVID-19 had been declared a global pandemic.

"Profound change has occurred since then and responding to the challenges of a global pandemic has driven the mining sector's immediate planning, decision making, and risk mitigation actions," Sugars said.

In Australia, Sugars said COVID-19 had impacted the mental health of the mining workforce, while there had been challenges in managing mining supplier and liquidity risk.

Sugars said the Australian mining sector was now at a transition point.

"Miners must closely monitor and manage the ongoing health crisis presented by COVID-19, but mining executives must also continue their focus on the medium to long-term," she said.

KPMG global and Australian mining sector leader Trevor Hart said many companies had established a "COVID rhythm" and the focus was now on the future.

"In addition, we believe commodity prices will be volatile for the foreseeable future as COVID and geopolitical impacts reverberate through global commodity demand and supply," he said.

"COVID-19 has demonstrated the value of operational agility and accurate real-time information for leaders. This is also about addressing supply chain risk to ensure security of supply. We have seen that ability in the quick response of miners in managing potential choke points and building optionality across the chain."

The survey found only 12% saw technology disruption as a risk, with 85% viewing it as an opportunity.

"Fortunately, at the same time that environmental, social and governance (ESG) and other non-financial risks are attracting more focus, technology is rising to the challenge to support organisations and boards in understanding these risks proactively," Sugars said.

"This must remain true throughout the period of COVID challenges and beyond."