Mining companies told to innovate or die

AUSTRALIAN mining companies dealing with unstable market conditions are being advised that innovation is the key to survival.

Financial advisory organisation Deloitte offered 10 trends and solutions for mining companies in the Tracking the Trends 2015 report the company released on Friday.

The strategies include considering using unconventional fossil fuels; developing renewable energy facilities; harnessing the power of social media; and building better government relationships.

Deloitte Australia's west coast national mining leader Nicki Ivory said no one in the Australian mining sector needed to be told it was imperative to adapt to changing market conditions and produce more for less cost.

"In an environment of zero tolerance for underperformance, companies must rethink not only their traditional approaches to mining operations, technology deployment, and trading and marketing, but also their underlying cultural approach to costs," Ms Ivory said.

Innovation is one key to success in Deloitte Australia's east coast national mining leader's mind.

"At its most basic, innovation presents an optimal strategy for controlling costs," Reuben Saayman said.

"Yet it's rapidly becoming clear that innovation can do much more than reduce capital intensity.

"Approached strategically, it also has the power to improve productivity and energy intensity, while increasing mining intensity."

He said the he key was to think of innovation as much more than research and development around particular processes or technologies.

"Companies can, in fact, innovate in multiple ways, such as leveraging supplier knowledge around specific operational challenges, redefining their participation in the energy value chain or finding new ways to engage and partner with major stakeholders and constituencies," Mr Saayman said.

"And as operators begin to apply innovation to their full operational ecosystem, they stand to realise significant gains." - APN NEWSDESK