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Knowledge intensive service activities (KISA) in innovation of the mining technology services sector in Australia

15 Nov 2005

This report provides results of the investigation of Knowledge Intensive Service Activities (KISA) in the Australian Mining Technology Services (MTS) Sector. KISA can be defi ned as production and integration of service activities undertaken by fi rms in manufacturing or service sectors, in combination with manufactured outputs or as stand-alone services (OECD 2001, 2002). The results of the review of recent literature and surveys on the signifi cance of the sector, semistructured interviews with mining technology companies and case studies of MTS and mining companies are discussed.

The MTS sector is comprised of companies, institutions, associations and other organisations that receive substantial portions of their revenue, directly or indirectly, from mining companies for the provision of goods and services based on specialised technology, intellectual property or knowledge. The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) does not collect data for the MTS sector. There is a minimum of 331 MTS companies in Australia as noted in the latest survey of the sector by ABARE. MTS is a critical component of Australia’s largest export earner, the mining industry. Gross sales revenue in the MTS sector in 2004-05 is forecasted to be approximately AUD 4,430 million. The majority of the fi rms are SMEs employing 10 people or less with a total of 16,800 full time equivalent employees in 2003-04. The mining sector is estimated to contribute AUD 1.9 billion in high-technology exports in mining services, in particular to the East and South East Asian region but also to Central and South America, North America, Africa and Europe. The export revenue for 2004-05 is forecasted to be AUD 1,240 million. Mining technology service fi rms are predominantly found in business centres and inner city locations. New South Wales, Victoria and Queensland have the highest number of mining technology companies. The sector has specifi c geographical features of clustering in the cities of Sydney and Perth, stressing the importance of network connections to corporate headquarters and other KIBS often associated with fi nancial centres, especially in the case of Sydney.

In Australia there are no policies and programs specifi cally supporting the MTS sector or the supply or promotion of KISA in the MTS Sector. However, the current MTS Action Agenda provides the development environment for the sector. The Action Agenda is a cooperative dialogue between industry, Government and State Agencies, with the common aim of promoting sustainable economic growth. The Mining Technology Service Action Agenda was announced on the 6th of June, 2001. The Action Agenda focuses on fi ve areas: • Response to the globalisation change; • Technology and research and development coordination; • Improving industry market share and competitiveness; • Education and training; and • Promotion and marketing.

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