AMIRA International was incorporated in September 1959 as The Australian Mineral Industries Research Association Limited (A.M.I.R.A.). The founding fathers’ unique vision to facilitate the development of collaborative research projects sponsored by members, is still an important driving purpose that continues today. To better reflect our global reach, AMIRA International Limited was adopted as the trading name in 1998. The business name was formerly changed to AMIRA International Limited in 2001.
A.M.I.R.A. was created as a private-sector, independent, not-for-profit industry association. The founding fathers decided that A.M.I.R.A. should be funded not through an industry levy, but on its ability to work with members and develop the research programmes designed to deliver the solutions for the group challenges. For its time, it represented a truly innovative business model in Australia, and indeed the world.
AMIRA International is now a global organisation promoting projects generated by the world’s best researchers to our members worldwide and acknowledged as an international benchmark for collaborative research in the private sector. In recent years, AMIRA has embraced the principle of ‘think global, act local ‘ to facilitate regional project development in countries where members operate. A particularly important spin-off from AMIRA’s activities is to assist in capacity building and nurturing research infrastructure in these countries.
Whilst holding true to the vision of our founding fathers, AMIRA has been adapting to changing circumstances. We have developed and administered close to 700 projects since inception, delivering many innovations in the form of widgets and software, new methodologies, standards and tools, improved understanding of physical processes, new exploration concepts, and geological data/databases. Approximately AU$580 million has been invested, in current dollar terms, by our members in these projects.
Although AMIRA continues its important role of providing solutions to members’ business challenges through collaboration, this does not preclude AMIRA from being engaged by a member on a one-on-one basis to develop and manage research programmes on their behalf.
AMIRA is managed like any other public company, but as a not-for-profit member-based organisation we have a special relationship with our members. Our corporate goals therefore, revolve around delivering value to our various classes of members through:
It has been another difficult year for the mining industry. Commodity prices have continued to decline with little evidence of any recovery and our member companies have had to continue their efforts to improve productivity and reduce capital expenditure. As a consequence exploration budgets have been drastically reduced and orders for equipment have declined significantly, adversely affecting supplier companies.
This has resulted in declining support for research and as a result AMIRA, like many of its members and research partners, has had to improve productivity to remain effective and financially sound. AMIRA has continued to adapt to the prevailing circumstances by ensuring that projects focus more on the short term and less on the long term, and also increasingly concentrate on delivering implementable results; reducing emphasis on fundamental research.
Despite the difficult situation, membership at the end of the financial year was 75. The membership includes miners, explorers and equipment, technology and service suppliers from across the globe. The current membership includes miners that collectively account for around 70% or the world export iron ore, 55% of the world’s coal, 75% of the world’s gold, 80% of the world’s copper, 55% of the world’s nickel, and close to 50% of the world’s alumina.
In the course of the year. a number of Directors did not stand for re-election and new Directors joined the Board. Mr Rick Gilbert (Vice President – Freeport-MacMoran) stepped down from the Board after serving six years. Mr Neville Plint (Anglo Platinum) resigned after taking a new position with Anglo American. Mr Paul Blewett (Boart Longyear) was replaced by Mr Peter Kanck. Mr Richard Butcher (General Manager Technical Services – MMG limited), and Colin Moorhead (Executive General Manager - Newcrest) joined the Board. AMIRA would like to express its gratitude to Rick Gilbert and Neville Plint for their service to AMIRA and wishes to acknowledge their respective companies for volunteering their employees at their expense. This is much appreciated, particularly in these difficult times.
Despite continued difficult trading conditions, AMIRA’s balance sheet remains strong. Management and staff have adapted well to operating under much reduced budgets and are to be congratulated for their unswerving commitment to deliver value to members.
During the past financial year our members have had to weather another year of decreasing commodity prices. As is typical during these times the level of discretionary spending decreases. Two areas in particular, collaborative research and greenfields exploration, are at the top of the discretionary list. Accompanying the decline in support was the loss of company champions as companies’ adapt their workforce to the prevailing economic realities.
The AMIRA team worked hard and successfully attracted AU$5.8 million of financial support during the year. This came from the following projects:
Additionally, new sponsors were secured for P420E: Gold Processing project.
In addition to securing support for projects, AMIRA continued to build a pipeline of new project ideas as well as laying the ground work for extension projects that are expected to come in the next financial year.
The year also brought several very successful projects to an end:
P1060: Enhanced Geochemical Targeting in Magmatic-Hydrothermal Systems.
The final sponsors’ meeting was held in Hobart, Australia on the 4th June 2015. The meeting was attended by representatives from 15 sponsor companies. Researchers from CODES (University of Tasmania), Imperial College and Lakehead University presented results from the three year project, which included the delivery of a comprehensive dataset and an Exploration Toolkit. The outcomes from this project have the potential to change the way exploration is undertaken for porphyry and epithermal mineral systems.
P1097: Systematic Evaluation of Transportable Moisture Limit (TML) Measurement Methods for Iron Ore Fines Bulk Cargoes.
The objective of this project was to advance the science and engineering that underpin the measurement of TML for shipping iron ore fines bulk cargoes, and to recommend the best method(s) for ranking iron ore fines stability whilst being transported as a bulk cargo. The project was supported by six iron ore producers, including BHP Billiton, Rio Tinto, Vale, FMG, Roy Hill and Cliffs and two project observers comprising the Minerals Council of Western Australia and the Western Australian Chamber of Minerals and Energy.
AMIRA serves its members not only by developing projects that address common problems, but also by nurturing and building research capacity and infrastructure across the globe and importantly by providing opportunities for networking. The regular sixth-monthly sponsors’ progress review meetings provide ample opportunity for the latter but in addition, AMIRA organises the acclaimed invitation-only Biennial Exploration Managers Conference. This year the conference was held in the Barossa Valley, South Australia. A group of approximately 80 minerals exploration industry delegates participated. The theme of the three–day conference was ‘Collaborative Research: Impact and Driver for Discovery‘. During first day of the conference delegates examined the value of R&D to minerals exploration, providing some important insights. An interactive session on day two, focused on challenging the status quo – addressing topics that included: what is mission critical knowledge in exploration; as well as exploring alternative research approaches to exploration geoscience. Another session painted a picture of current and future global government funding of geoscience R&D. Panel discussion sessions examined such questions as ‘Who is going to make the next major greenfield discovery?’ and ‘How can we enhance collaboration between industry and institutions to support long-term research?’.
During the year the corporate communications and marketing strategy was reviewed. After some 10 years it was time that AMIRA International got a new livery. This involved designing a new logo, corporate colours and developing a new website. AMIRA’s new logo retains much of the previous features but emphasises the more global nature of our business. Perhaps of more value to our members, we created a completely new website which we believe is more in keeping with modernity and will enable us to serve our members better. Some of the new features of the website include:
A number of staff changes occurred during the year. Dr Chris du Plessis left to take the position of Non-Ferrous Hydrometallurgy Expert at Lhoist Group in Brussels. Chris du Plessis joined AMIRA International in late 2012. Also during the year Ms Kriba Reddy, Program Manager and Regional Manger South Africa, left the employ of AMIRA. In December 2014, Mr Jeremy Mann, joined AMIRA as Consultant Program Manager. Jeremy was previously Head of Geosciences, Process and S&SD Technology development in Anglo American’s Group Technology Development Department. Jeremy is based in our Johannesburg office.
AMIRA continues to adapt to ensure that we deliver value to our members. Although the results for the last financial year are pleasing, the challenges will continue into the new financial year. Ultimately it’s our members and those who share our vision and passion that drive our efforts in gaining success and delivering solutions to the global mining industry.
AMIRA International is the preeminent independent consortium builder that delivers technology solutions for the advancement of our members.
Identify and partner with the best organisations around the world that can provide solutions to the business challenges of our members through scientific research or engineering outcomes
To ourselves, our members, our partners and the environment
We are passionate about helping the industry transform itself into a truly safe, socially and environmentally responsible, technology driven sustainable industry for the betterment of all society.
We act with integrity, responsibly and competently at all times. We respect the law, support universal human rights, protect the environment and benefit the communities where we work.
We respect cultural and individual differences both within the organisation and with all those we work with. We work together to embrace trust, openness, and teamwork to achieve mutually rewarding results.
The high standard we set for ourselves in all we do. Always accountable, always learning, always improving and delivering value to our members. We are constantly seeking to understand our members’ challenges irrespective of their location and deliver valued solutions. Focusing on things that matter most to our members. Promote positive change by encouraging innovation and applying agreed upon practices. Develop our people in pursuit of excellence.
Nurturing and developing the global resources industry network for our Members and the research community.
Maximise the benefit of our services to all our stakeholders
Success Through People:
Ensuring attraction and retention of energetic talented people