Welcome to the latest issue of MINE Australia.

In this edition, we ask if good things can come to those who wait, in the Australian mining sector. Rio Tinto’s Gudai-Darri iron ore mine is the company’s first greenfield site in the Pilbara in a decade, but has encountered no shortage of problems ahead of production. With costs ballooning to $3bn, and production beginning almost a year behind schedule, stakeholders across the company are eager to see a return on their considerable investments. 

Rio Tinto hopes the project could prove to be the backbone of the company’s Western Australia iron ore business. With an estimated annual production of 43 million tonnes, and a life of mine that pushes four decades, the facility could be a reliable source of a vital metal for a generation. 

Elsewhere, we consider some of the challenges facing minority groups in Australian mining: women and indigenous people. With a series of reports finding a toxic, misogynistic culture permeating the sector, and BHP in particular pushing for better relations with indigenous groups, it is clear that Australian miners can, and should, be doing better on these fronts. 

We also profile some of the most exciting rare earth mines in Australia, and speak to Zenith Energy COO Graham Cooper about the changing face of employment in Australian mining, and how both mining and its hiring practices could change in the future. 

For all this and more, read on.

JP Casey, editor