No net zero without mining, industry says

The mining industry is grappling with inflation, decarbonisation and energy security but must also pass the pub test on sustainability.

More than 7500 delegates are at a high-powered summit in Sydney to make deals and tackle challenges, with a large police presence to fend off climate protesters.

"Gazing at our own navel and complaining how hard we're done by - that will not do any good," Newcrest Mining chief financial officer Sherry Duhe said in her keynote speech on Wednesday.

"Mining paints itself a large target at a time of heightened environmental consciousness because of our impact on this Earth."

Ms Duhe told the International Mining and Resources Conference (IMARC) the industry needs to understand society's expectations.

"We must ask ourselves, do our actions pass the pub test?"

Next week's international climate talks in Cairo take place with $125 trillion needed to fund the global transition to net zero carbon emissions by 2050.

"No one can meet those targets without mining," Ms Duhe said.

She urged the industry to challenge itself to beat the 2050 deadline using all available capital and technology - and millions of tonnes of nickel, copper and graphite.

BHP executive James Agar told the summit the picture was mixed for the industry, with tight labour and energy markets the immediate challenge.

Like the broader economy, the mining industry has been experiencing a combination of "good" or demand-led inflation and rising costs from "bad" bottleneck inflation.

"The balance between the two has been skewed heavily towards the 'bad' since the Russian invasion of Ukraine," he said.

"The energy crisis in Europe is profound and will continue to drive volatility in energy markets."

Australia is profiting from elevated prices for top commodities as war in Ukraine cuts Russian exports of gas, oil and critical minerals.

Investors already looking to replace China as a supplier are flocking to Australia.

Saudi Arabia, one of more than 100 countries represented at the event, has sent its largest-ever delegation to the conference to tap local expertise.

The three-day industry summit showcases new mining technology and the ingredients the world needs to make electric cars, batteries and wind turbines.

Organisers have warned delegates not to show their conference identification outside the Darling Harbour venue or engage with protesters.

"We need to protest against IMARC. It is our future these polluters are planning to destroy," School Strike 4 Climate activist Chris Black said.

Marie Flood, from environmental group Knitting Nannas, said members would keep raising the alarm on new mines.

"Police are attempting to stop us protesting the corporate culprits and their well-resourced plans to wreck the climate," she said.

But lives could also be at stake if the industry doesn't safeguard against increasingly sophisticated attacks, experts warn.

New technology and the electrification of equipment could see digital environments become weaponised.

"Increased 'technologisation' creates new entry points, which cyber criminals are increasingly exploiting to compromise production and supply chains, potentially jeopardising human safety," MinterEllison cyber practice chief Paul Kallenbach said.

Rob Labbe, chair of the Mining and Metals Information Sharing Analysis Centre, said the mining industry was yet to identify cybersecurity as a key business risk.

"It's where safety was 20 years ago - where it was largely seen as a technical problem and you put up another guard rail and the issue was solved," he said.