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Head of Minerals sees a bright future for South Australia

With a distinguished record of achievements in the resource sector spanning 46 years, outgoing Mineral Resources Executive Director Ted Tyne is positive about the sector outlook.

Ted Tyne (Photo 409669)
Ted Tyne (Photo 409669)

Ted retired February 2017 having served in various executive leadership roles within the South Australian Government since 2005, following an eminent background in geoscientific leadership from 28 years of service in the New South Wales Government along with private sector work.

During 12 years in South Australia Ted has developed a vibrant minerals sector while delivering sound regulation.

Ted and his regulatory directors have been instrumental in modernising the state’s regulations that set a new benchmark for the state and the country. He led teams in stripping away an outdated prescriptive regulatory approach to establish one that is objective, performance-based and offers procedural fairness. This, together with the state’s one-stop shop approach, has made South Australia’s regulatory framework the envy of other jurisdictions.

He has put South Australia on the global stage through forging international partnerships in geosciences and leading-practice regulation. South Australia has in place important partnerships with Chile, the world’s leading copper province, and with China and the Province of Saskatchewan in Canada on uranium.

With the strong support of the minister and government, Ted led the team that delivered the flagship South Australia Drill Core Reference Library at the Tonsley Innovation district, creating a breakthrough design that has made it a thriving hub promoting strong collaboration across the resource value-chain.

As the minister’s delegate, he has approved hundreds of mines and quarries and variations to operations across the state.

Signing of agreement between the China Geological Survey and Geological Survey of South Australia on 25 February 2014 by Dr Ted Tyne (Mineral Resources Executive Director) and Dr Xuelong Wang (Deputy Director General, CGS). (Photo 414005)
Signing of agreement between the China Geological Survey and Geological Survey of South Australia on 25 February 2014 by Dr Ted Tyne (Mineral Resources Executive Director) and Dr Xuelong Wang (Deputy Director General, CGS). (Photo 414005)

Setting a high standard, Ted leaves South Australia’s resource sector in safe hands, having inspired a dynamic and responsive group of people to drive forward resource sector growth in step with business and community aspirations.

Positive outlook

Ted notes that resource sector market conditions are now mirroring those of 2005 when he was first appointed head of Mineral Resources – then part of Primary Industries and Resources South Australia.

‘Through 2016 we’ve seen companies and government deliver significant projects and programs, and the sector is in great shape to take advantage of a return to positive growth’, he says.

He cites the progression of the OZ Minerals Carrapateena copper–gold project, discovered with one of the government’s very first Plan for Accelerating Exploration (PACE) collaborative drilling grants in 2005, as an encouraging sign. New mine openings, expansion or extension of the state’s iconic copper–gold mines and a return to production for others have kept regulatory assessment teams busy, and are further evidence of a return to positive sentiment.

Ted is especially proud of the award-winning Drill Core Reference Library which opened in 2016. Design is focused on the user experience and ‘augmented reality’ capabilities to attract the world’s most active explorers and foster exploration success.

Ted views this type of support, long-term initiatives and policy innovation as key enablers that have contributed to the sector’s progression and smoothed out cyclical peaks and troughs.

He has applied this philosophy, along with his colleagues, to create and develop an outstanding body of work that has taken the Mineral Resources Division on a journey that has produced significant positive outcomes for both the mining industry and South Australia in general.

Ted Tyne at Arrium's concentrator plant, Middleback Range. (Photo 415158)
Ted Tyne at Arrium's concentrator plant, Middleback Range. (Photo 415158)

Annual mineral production output is now more than double what it was in 2005. Between 2005 and 2016, cumulative mineral exploration expenditure has totalled $2.2 billion, while $45 billion worth of minerals has been produced, delivering economic and community benefits through exports, jobs and royalties.

Throughout this time, the world-renowned PACE initiative has played its part. An independent economic analysis found in its first decade from 2004 to 2014 alone that it delivered 15 significant discoveries, leveraged at least $20 for every $1 of PACE geoscience investment, and is conservatively estimated to have reaped $700 million extra in private mineral exploration investment.

Whether it is oversight of geoscience programs, the state’s regulatory stewardship or building national and international partnerships, Ted’s leadership style is characterised by building strong teams with a focus on collaboration and excellence in service delivery. He is known for delivering the highest levels of support and solutions-directed policy advice to government.

Peers describe his knowledge of the sector and policy insights as extraordinary and highly valued, and an important factor for South Australia securing consistently high rankings in industry benchmark measures for our policy settings.

Contributions made by the Mineral Resources Division to the Nuclear Fuel Cycle Royal Commission regarding the state’s geology, exploration and mining operations illustrate the depth of his knowledge. The government has responded, supporting recommendations to grow exploration and mining.

As of last year, Ted as the state’s principal minerals regulator, together with regulatory teams, carried responsibility for 821 mineral leases, 610 extractive minerals leases, 233 private mines, 355 opal mining claims and 3,500 former mines, not to mention advanced mineral projects and exploration licences.

Less widely known is Ted’s passionate commitment and advocacy for the sector to build trusted and respectful relationships. In recent years he brokered a government-led code of practice for explorers endorsed by the mining and farming sectors. He has led progressive programs to support engagement with Aboriginal landholders, and farming and regional communities.

In support of fostering a positive culture and social licence to operate, Ted has been the inaugural Chair of the Premier’s Community Excellence Awards in Mining and Energy.

Initiatives for 2017

In Ted’s book, 2017 will be a big year for the $20 million PACE Copper initiative, a vital stimulus for the Copper Strategy.

South Australian magnetite is well-regarded in steel-making and in January 2017 Ted’s team released the state’s Magnetite Strategy directions paper to guide and support the development of the state’s vast iron ore resources.

Evidence of the high-performance culture that Ted has created can be seen in the Resource Land Access Strategy team which is leading a major review of the state’s mining legislation. Ted devoted his final working weeks in assisting the team throughout the intensive period of public consultation, along with supporting the transition and handover of the Mineral Resources Executive at a time when the market is recovering.

For nearly 12 years Ted has led the Mineral Resources Division in the South Australian Government with grace, vigour and the utmost professionalism. The privilege to work with Dr Ted Tyne in an important time in South Australia’s economic history has been all ours.

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