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Trade and investment opportunities across Latin America showcased

Austrade media release

22 May 2012

Australian business will have an opportunity to learn about the mining and education opportunities across Latin America at a unique two day conference, Latin America Down Under, in Sydney from 22-23 May.

The conference, which has attracted international ministers and influential business leaders, will discuss why Latin America is now one of the world’s major mining investment destinations and how Australia’s education sector can provide the human capital development needed for the sector to continue its impressive growth pattern.

Senior Trade Commissioner for Latin America, Crispin Conroy, said Austrade is focussing on key emerging markets in Latin America, the ‘Latin Six’ counties – namely Brazil, Mexico, Chile, Peru, Argentina and Colombia. However, other smaller markets are increasingly of interest to the mining community such as Uruguay, Guyana and Nicaragua.

"Latin America is not only a major mining region but is also attracting a large share of the world’s mining investment and a hub for global exploration investment," Mr Conroy said.

"In fact, of the top 10 mining countries globally, five are in Latin America – Mexico, Peru, Chile, Brazil and Argentina.

"Austrade’s team of mining specialists located across the ‘Latin Six’ has been working hard to increase Australia’s mining participation and provide Australia’s world leading METS (Mining Equipment Technology Suppliers) industry with a larger customer base," Mr Conroy said.

This is possible because Australia is highly competitive right across the METS sector, which includes: the development of mining software and equipment; scientific analysis; exploration assessment technology; mineral processing technology; environmental services; R&D; and health and safety services and equipment.

"This diversity and skill set allows the opportunity to build a whole supply chain of other consultants and equipment suppliers, as Australian engineering firms enter the market to service the demand created by an Australian mining company already operating in the market," he said.

There are also cross sector opportunities for Australia’s education sector, especially in helping to fill the mining skills shortages – the human capital development – faced by many countries.

"Australia’s education and training institutions are equipped to provide a broad range of solutions which address the skills gap in the mining sector, preparing graduates for a Future Unlimited," Mr Conroy said.

"With Australia known as a pioneer in R&D for the mining industry and leader in innovative education and training, industry and education providers are utilising various national government programs to deliver solutions for the mining sector."

Some of these programs are Mining Education Australia, the International Mining for Development Centre and targeted vocational education focussed on specialised industry sectors which aim to address the skills shortages.

As part of the conference, Austrade will participate in joint panel discussions and host a breakfast seminar "Australia and Latin America: Human capital development for the mining industry" on Wednesday 23 May.

Additionally, Austrade will provide an 'Australia Unlimited' networking space to allow Australian businesses to hold meetings with visiting delegates and industry leaders.

The Latin America Down Under conference is being held at the Sheraton Hotel Sydney from May 22 -23.

ENDS

Available for interviews

Crispin Conroy, Senior Trade Commissioner for Latin America

Media contact

Sarkis Khoury, Senior Media Adviser
Tel: +61 2 9392 2118
Mob: +61 414 401 072

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