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MinRes on the charge at RTS 2023

Mineral Resources was full of energy helping inspire the next generation of bright minds at the Resources Technology Showcase 2023 (RTS 2023).

The bi-annual industry event shines a spotlight on some of the world’s most impressive mining technology and drives conversation on the ways innovation is shaping the future of Western Australia’s resources, mining and defence sectors.

MinRes joined other mining and resources companies with an interactive presence at this year’s exhibition, highlighting the many ways lithium is powering modern technology and guiding the world’s transition to a cleaner energy future.

Our team engaged thousands of school students and the general public with interactive activities including a guided walk through a jumbo lithium-ion battery, racing lithium-powered remote-controlled cars, and trying their hand as a mining geologist.

Public Marketing Manager Mark Hughes said MinRes’ presence was about helping young people understand the economic and social benefits our resources sector delivers, while encouraging the next generation to consider a career in the sector.

“Our rapid growth has been supported by a passion for innovation. From our modular crushing technology to autonomous road trains and transhipping solutions, our people are encouraged to think differently and embrace new challenges,” Mr Hughes said.

“We’ve worked hard to build industry-leading projects that will operate for decades to come, so it’s important we continue to engage young people on the opportunities and benefits on offer across our business and industry.”

The final day of RTS 2023 was marked with an industry conference attended by key government and industry stakeholders, discussing opportunities and priorities that will shape the future success of WA’s resources sector.

Premier Mark McGowan opened proceedings by emphasising the importance of a clear vision for the sector’s future and announced a new $40 million investment commitment set to support discoveries of critical minerals used in electric cars and other green technologies.

“No other Australian state comes close to matching our commitment to mineral and energy exploration and WA continues to lead the pack by some distance,” Mr McGowan said.

“The transition to clean energy represents a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for WA, as economies around the world seek to secure their critical minerals supply chains.”

The conference also featured a wide-ranging interview with MinRes Managing Director, Chris Ellison, covering his journey from New Zealand in the 1970s and his success building mining services and iron ore, natural gas and lithium projects in WA.

MinRes has grown to become a global top-five lithium producer – supporting growing demand for electric vehicles, energy storage and other battery-powered devices – but Mr Ellison stressed the need for urgent action to strengthen Australia’s position in the downstream manufacturing of battery minerals.

Managing Director Chris Ellison chats with the MinRes team at the Resources Technology Showcase 2023.

“If we own the rock in the ground, we can command the downstreaming and attract partners with the right expertise – just as we’ve done with Ganfeng at Mt Marion and Albemarle at Wodgina,” Mr Ellison said.

“What our federal and state governments need to do is get together and get committed in wanting downstream employment in Western Australia.”

He also highlighted the increasing difficulty convincing international partners and investors of the economic value of building battery chemical facilities in Australia when so much is on offer from governments elsewhere.

“We’re not asking for handouts. We need to match what other parts of the world are getting because the end product is at a cost. If we can’t match that cost, it can’t be done.”