Minerals, materials and a sustainable future

The products of mining are everywhere. If it wasn’t grown, it was mined or drilled. Now that the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals are mainstream, and a renewable energy transformation fuelled by minerals is well underway, is it time to reconsider the role that mining and minerals play in sustainable development?  

Global Leadership Series: Minerals, materials and a sustainable future

Thu 28 Nov 2019 6:00pm8:00pm


Advanced Engineering Building
Corner of Staff House Road and Jocks Road, The University of Queensland
St Lucia Campus
GHD Auditorium

And that’s a wrap! The Sustainable Minerals Institute (SMI) and Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) hosted the Global Leadership Series event Minerals, materials and a sustainable future after months of planning, dozens of interviews, meetings with subject matters experts, and a couple of technical quandaries - and its already been picked up for broadcast.

To reinforce the positive feedback SMI has been receiving since the event, the ABC News channel has confirmed the program will be airing at 8:00pm AEDT (7:00pm Queensland time), Friday 13 December on ABC News 24. That's right, if you weren't able to attend the event in person you still have a chance to see just how the night progressed.

The event was produced by SMI in collaboration with the School of Communication and Arts and the ABC, and aimed to take mining out of the political arena and facilitate a national conversation about the role of the sector in Australia's sustainable future.

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Moderator – Professor Peter Greste
UNESCO Chair of Journalism and Communication, The University of Queensland

Professor Peter Greste is an award-winning foreign correspondent who spent 25 years working for the BBC, Reuters and Al Jazeera in some of the world’s most volatile places. From Latin America, Africa, the Middle East, he reported from the frontlines and beyond. He may be best known for becoming a headline himself, when he and two of his colleagues were arrested in Cairo while working for Al Jazeera and charged with terrorism offences. In letters smuggled from prison, he described the arrests as an attack on media freedom. The letters helped launch a global campaign that eventually got them released after more than 400 days in prison. 

He has since become a vocal campaigner and advocate for media freedom – a stance that has earned him awards from Britain’s Royal Television Society, the Walkley Foundation, the RSL’s ANZAC Peace Prize, the Australian Human Rights Commission’s Human Rights Medal, and the International Association of Press Clubs’ Freedom of Speech Award. He has written about his experiences in Egypt and what he regards as the global war on journalism in a book, The First Casualty. He continues to investigate and report on critical challenges facing Australia and the world.


Sandeep Biswas

Sandeep Biswas is the Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of Newcrest Mining, one of the world’s largest gold mining companies. Sandeep graduated from The University of Queensland in 1983 with a Bachelor of Engineering and has since gained extensive experience within the mining industry across Europe, North America and Australia. Sandeep is committed to maintaining safe and stable operations and running existing operations to their full potential, while profitably growing the company.


Mara Bún 

Mara Bun is the President of the Australian Conservation Foundation. Mara is a passionate environmental activist with experience in non-profit, finance, public policy and consulting and is committed to fostering innovative climate solutions. She is also the non-executive Director of Australian Ethical Investment and the non-executive Director of Enova Community Energy alongside a number of consulting roles.


Vanessa Elliott

Vanessa Elliott is a Jaru woman from the Kimberley region of WA. She has over 20 years, experience in economic development, community services, regional and remote project management, town planning, headworks, energy, mining and service commissioning. Her career has spanned the corporate, public, and non-profit sectors and includes a decade of experience within the resources industry. Vanessa is currently on the board of Desert Knowledge Australia (DKA) and Commissioner of the Forest Products Commission WA. 


Professor Neville Plint

Professor Neville Plint is the Director of the Sustainable Minerals Institute (SMI) at The University of Queensland and holds over 20 years of experience in the mining sector. Neville’s extensive background focused on delivering improved operational performance on mining sites by developing and implementing new technologies, whilst establishing a global network of research professionals in academic institutes, mining companies and research organisations.