R&D prospects in the mining and metals industry
The mining and metals industry is considered more-or-less technology mature as it spends less than 1% of its revenues on R&D. In the period 2003-2008, that sector saw a very significant increase in profitability. Yet, during the same period, mining and metals companies continued to trim R&D spending, a trend that started in the early 1980s. In the near future the mining and metals industry will face significant challenges including an increased demand from the developing world counterbalanced by an overall trend to lower ore grades and with high pressure to reduce energy consumption and carbon dioxide emissions. To overcome these challenges, the mining and metals industry will likely face the need to considerably increase its R&D efforts. As the world enters a period of economic uncertainty, the sector will need to revise its approach towards R&D, reconsider its position against collaborative research with academia and other institutions, and be more creative when it comes to R&D funding.
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