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University of Queensland

The Future of Mining?

University of Queensland via edX


What will the mining and minerals sector look like in 2040?

This course aims to explore the risks, challenges and opportunities facing the mining industry over the next few decades.

You will learn about scenario planning and how to use this approach as a strategic tool to consider a range of possible futures for the minerals sector, against the backdrop of uncertain future environments.

You will also explore the current significant challenges for the sector as well as the impact of rapidly changing technologies, and how these combine with changing societal expectations and global trends in several possible futures.

This interactive course incorporates videos, expert insights, simulations, discussions and scenarios to deepen your current understanding of the sector, and to encourage you to develop your own ideas about possible future directions.


Module 0: Getting started
Meet your peers and the course contributors from around the world and complete an introductory survey. Learn about types of mines and the fascinating history of mining. An introduction to scenario planning and how organisations are using this as a tool to adjust to unpredictable futures.

Module 1: Mineral resources in modern society
The role of metals in society and changing production and consumption trends in the resources sector. We examine the intersection of population growth, the changes in resource intensity linked to economic growth, and the effect of innovation and the adoption of new technology.

Module 2: The big issues
The current issues and challenges confronting the mining industry, including social and political dimensions; and what needs to change in the way mining is integrated into medium to long term planning for water management, rehabilitation and mine closure

Module 3: Mining futures
An examination of emerging technologies and their impact across the value chain and why it is an exciting time for the mining industry, which is in the midst of a profound digital transformation.

Module 4: Re-thinking resources
A focus on mining's contribution to the concept of the circular economy. What are resources, are we running out of metals and how can we create value from mining waste?

Module 5: Breaking new ground
A review of some of the new dialogues surrounding the role of mining in the 21st century.  Smart sharing of infrastructure, and national and transnational frameworks for realising improved outcomes from mining development.  An analysis of possible future scenarios that offer a plausible glimpse into the future and the challenge of how well your organisation is prepared for one of these possible futures.

Taught by

Glen Corder, John Steen, Peter Knights, Saleem Ali, Robin Evans and Elaine Wightman


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