Sydney, Australia: The world’s mining and resource leaders are gathering in Sydney this week for the 10th International Mining and Resources Conference (IMARC), which has grown from humble beginnings to become one of the world’s most important industry conferences and Australia’s largest business event.
Chief Executive Officer of Beacon Events, Daniel Kirwin, said IMARC was born at a time when industry conferences provided limited opportunities for leaders to engage, exchange ideas, showcase innovation, establish business partnerships and tackle common challenges.
“IMARC has emerged as one of the top global forums for miners, investors, METS companies and governments, reflecting an industry undergoing a period of sustained transformation. It filled an important gap in the industry and is now well and truly established on the calendar of global mining and resources events,” he said.
Chief Operating Officer of Beacon Events Anita Richards recalls how the event quickly grew from 2000 delegates in its first year to become the largest business event in Australia. Such was the momentum, not even a global pandemic could stop IMARC’s growth.
“The commitment we get every year from delegates, sponsors, supporters and stakeholders across the world has meant the event has grown year on year and when you consider the challenges we have been through, the success of IMARC is all the more remarkable.”
IMARC program architect Sherene Asnasyous said the key to the event’s success has been ensuring the program reflects the ever-changing industry. Every year, she said, more and more companies come together to address challenges such as sourcing Critical Minerals sustainably, minimising environmental impacts, improving engagement with communities and promoting mining’s role in helping the world meet ambitious emissions reductions goals.
“From day one, we wanted it to be solutions-focused about how technology is being applied, how investments are actioned, and how practical steps are being taken to achieve shared goals,” she said.
Mitch Hooke AM, former CEO of the Minerals Council of Australia and Chairman of Partners in Performance was part of the Inaugural launch of IMARC in 2013.
“IMARC has differentiated itself in a crowded market by generating each year a program of more substance than rhetoric, of more pathways to deliverables than merely objectives or ideals, and of unique insights into commercial opportunities, spanning every conceivable aspect, discipline, innovation and commerce throughout the sector from prospectivity to end product and back again.
“In this, IMARC has succeeded in its endeavours to be a world-class meeting of mutually interested parties in the endeavour of converting natural resources endowment into sustainable societal capital.”
Industry veteran Owen Hegarty, a long-time Ambassador for IMARC, has also watched with interest as the event has evolved to reflect the critical issues facing the mining and resources industry.
“We need more minerals and commodities than ever to achieve our decarbonisation goals, and we must continue to explore and develop to meet demand. The sector has long understood we need to have access to the resources and to earn the trust of the community to do the right thing socially and environmentally. This message has been consistent throughout IMARC’s 10 years,” he said.
Another IMARC Ambassador, Gavan Collery, believes IMARC’s success is based on the fact it is a world-class industry conference, a showcase of the best technology in the world and an unparalleled networking event opportunity for the Australian industry to market itself to the world.
“10 years ago, Australia did not have its own global industry forum. Now, you’re looking at exhibitions that showcase the smarts that Australia has in AI, autonomous initiatives, VR, and equipment and services which lead to improved productivity, sustainability and safety. For Australian industry with global ambitions, IMARC has been a game changer.”
Chair of the Melbourne Mining Club and fund manager, Richard Morrow, agrees that until IMARC came along, Australia’s mining industry was not represented on the world stage, despite having so many CEOs and leaders in global mining companies.
“The ability to bring the CEOs of the biggest operators to IMARC took the event to another level and set it on the path to being Australia’s largest business event with a truly global profile. IMARC reflects the maturity of the industry and the issues that we are talking about globally,” he said.
Gavan Collery says over the past decade he has seen the industry become more collaborative and united by common challenges – a consistent theme at IMARC. One of the major changes he has noted has been the interaction with governments to ensure a better understanding of the role mining plays in advancing everyday life.
“We are saying unless you embrace our industry, we cannot deliver the critical minerals that your communities need to meet your ambitions for a decarbonised economy. Forums like IMARC have become critical neutral playing fields for these conversations.”
Observers also note that for an industry that is traditionally so competitive, it is encouraging to see the level of unity to a common cause – that of a safer, more viable and more productive industry.
CEO of the Canada Mining Innovation Council (CMIC), Carl Weatherell, said this unity of purpose is critical for the industry to prosper.
“While the industry is incredibly competitive by nature, it also has a shared destiny, and by necessity has pursued active collaboration on shared challenges such as decarbonisation. We call this ‘coopertition’ and it is one of the reasons events like IMARC are so important.”
Owen Hegarty believes the mining industry is a pioneer when it came to Environment, Sustainability and Governance (ESG) principles.
“Our industry has been applying ESG principles since before the term was coined. Around the globe, populations have grown, demand for resources has increased, scrutiny of our industry’s practices is unprecedented, and community expectations are higher than ever.”
Adrian Beer, CEO METS Ignited, an Australian Government mining technology accelerator and headline sponsor, said the success of IMARC is due to its ability to bring together the entire value chain, not just miners.
“Australia is a recognised global leader in the mining industry, so IMARC attracts the world’s leading mining companies and innovators. For our local companies, it allows them to test their mettle against the world’s best. Today, it is equal to any of the world’s largest resources events. Staying true to its purpose is why IMARC has stood the test of time,” he said.
Stephen Durkin, CEO AusIMM, one of the event’s Founding Partners, agrees: “We have been proud to be part of the growth of this renowned event, which shares the knowledge and insights of global leaders and experts. By bringing together thousands of industry professionals each year, IMARC reinforces how a safe and sustainable mining industry is critical to the energy transition.”
Christine Gibbs Stewart, CEO of event Founding Partner Austmine, said the fact that IMARC is now recognised around the globe is a result of the Founding Partners working together to produce a world-class event that delivers direct benefits to the Australian industry.
“With an impressive exhibition which has grown substantially over the years, Austmine and our members are able to showcase the best of what Australian METS have to offer, which helps to solidify our position as a global mining innovation hub,” she says.
“We would like to thank AusIMM, Mines & Money and the Victorian Government for being such excellent partners and our Austmine members who have supported IMARC over the last 10 years, and we look forward to what the next decade brings.”
IMARC 2023 will take place at the ICC Sydney from 31 October to 2 November and will be a celebration of what has grown into one of Australia’s biggest business events, with a record 8,500 delegates from over 120 countries, including upwards of 50 Government delegations expected to attend.