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Robotics is an area of investing that is growing in Australia ― but is it a sector worth investing in?

The global robotics industry is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 7.8 percent through 2028 according to the Global Industrial Robotics Market Analysis 2020. Robotics is an area of investing that is growing in Australia ― but is it a sector worth investing in?

Broadly speaking, robotics is the design and construction of robots. This can include core automation and production, industrial software, robot technology and integration of robotics. From drones to self-driving cars to toys ― robotics is a growing industry that is beginning to permeate our daily lives.

The distinction between robotics and AI can be a little confusing, but essentially think of robotics like the body and AI like the brain. Both can exist separately, and they are powerful when combined. The goal of a robot is to complete a task faster and more efficiently than a human.

What does the market look like?

The COVID-19 pandemic has seen technology sectors such as robotics accelerate as businesses have faced global challenges. Robotics has been able to help keep spaces safer by replacing humans with robots on factory lines, in eCommerce warehouses or on healthcare frontlines taking temperatures or disinfecting spaces.

What is Australia doing to support the robotics sector?

In early 2020, the Robotics Australia Network was formed to accelerate growth of the domestic robotics industry. The network aims to strengthen global competitiveness and cement Australia as a global leader in robotics.

How does the Australian robotics sector stack up?

According to the International Federation of Robotics, in a ranking of the world's most automated countries it's not even in the top 10. Number one is Singapore, followed by South Korea then Japan.

The investment space for pure robotics companies is relatively small, with greater opportunities to invest in more broader technology, AI and automation stocks.

Who are the big players in robotics stocks?

Robotics stocks in Australia are companies with a strong crossover to other technology sectors like artificial intelligence and virtual reality.

Vection Technologies (ASX:VR1)
Market Cap AU$77.56 million

Vection is a multinational software company with offices in Western Australia as well as Subiaco and Casalecchio di Reno in Italy. The company uses robotics technology as well as 3D, virtual reality, augmented reality, industrial IoT and CAD solutions. The business is split into two sections: IT development and outsourced services. The company also collaborates with Autodesk Technology Centers, the Microsoft Mixed Reality Team and Cisco Systems Italy.

Bill Identity (ASX:BID)

Market Cap AU$52.97 million

Previously known as BidEnergy, Bill Identity is a series of bill management solutions leveraged using robotic process automation, which helps clients increase efficiency. The company serves customers across Australia, New Zealand, the UK, the US and Europe. Bill Identity had a strong year, with total operating revenue growth of 55 percent year-on-year to US$14.6M in FY21.

What are the other ways to invest in robotics?

Another way to get into the robotics sector is investing in robotics exchange traded funds (ETFs), a popular choice that offers exposure to the industry of robotics and artificial intelligence rather than a single company. Two major ETFs in the robotics sector are:

  • BetaShares Global Robotics and Artificial Intelligence ETF (ASX:RBTZ)
  • The ROBO Global Robotics and Automation ETF (ARCA:ROBO)

Don't forget to follow us @INN_Australia for real-time updates!

Securities Disclosure: I, Ronelle Richards, hold no direct investment interest in any company mentioned in this article.

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The mining and resources sector now sets its sights on Australia’s largest mining investment forum, Mines and Money @ IMARC, co-located with IMARC from January 31, 2022, to February 2, 2022, at the Melbourne Showgrounds.

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Following international pressure, the Australian government has promised to reach net zero emissions by 2050.

In a last-minute commitment after months of debate, the Australian government has promised to reach net zero emissions by 2050, expecting to meet the goal largely through technology development.

The move comes following international pressure as Australia had previously refused to join countries in pledging to meet the target ahead of the United Nations' COP26 climate conference in Glasgow.

However, the plan unveiled on Tuesday (October 26), which includes a government investment of AU$20 billion, does not strengthen the target set for 2030, with Prime Minister Scott Morrison saying Australia is on track to beat its Paris Agreement goal, cutting emissions by 30 to 35 percent by that decade.


"We will do this the Australian way," Morrison said ahead of a press conference, announcing investments in new energy technologies like hydrogen and low-cost solar.

An Australian hydrogen industry could be worth more than AU$50 billion in 2050, according to the government. Meanwhile, expanding production and processing of metals like lithium, nickel, copper and uranium could together be worth around AU$85 billion in exports in 2050.

That said, Australia will continue to be heavily dependent on fossil fuels as the plan will not shut down coal or gas production. The country is a major coal player, with the third largest reserves in the world, but its reliance on coal-fired power makes it one of the world's largest carbon emitters per capita.

"We want our heavy industries, like mining, to stay open, remain competitive and adapt, so they remain viable for as long as global demand allows," Morrison said. "We will not support any mandate — domestic or international — to force closure of our resources or agricultural industries."

Australia's desire to achieve net zero emissions by 2050 is a step in the right direction, Prakash Sharma, Wood Mackenzie's Asia Pacific head of markets and transitions, said.

"Our analysis shows that Australia can reach net zero emissions by 2050," he said. The country's major trading partners — China, Japan and South Korea — are already in transition towards that goal.

According to Wood Mackenzie, nearly 83 percent of Australia's power generation will come from solar and wind by 2050, as compared to about 20 percent last year. Natural gas, bio energy, geothermal and small modular reactors will supply the remaining 17 percent in power output. Coal into power is expected to be phased out by 2035.

"Although the pathway requires complete transformation of its traditional energy and export sectors, there are significant opportunities to capitalise on and protect future revenues," Sharma said.

"This will require Australia to become a significant player in low-carbon hydrogen trade as well as being able to offer carbon storage and offset services."

Meanwhile, the Australian Conservation Foundation has welcomed the prime minister's commitment to reach net zero by 2050, but said the mid-century goal is only meaningful with deep cuts to climate pollution this decade.

"Unless the government sets the wheels in motion to cut our emissions in half by 2030, it is making climate change worse and turning its back on the opportunities," said Chief Executive Kelly O'Shanassy.

"Australia can become a global clean energy superpower in the next decade by replacing coal and gas with renewable energy," she added. "We have abundant clean energy, tools and talent, but we cannot delay any longer."

Don't forget to follow us @INN_Australia for real-time updates!

Securities Disclosure: I, Priscila Barrera, hold no direct investment interest in any company mentioned in this article.

panoramic view of sydney with the business district

There are at least five companies mining silver in New South Wales right now. Learn more about silver stocks in this key Australian state, as well as its rich history with the precious metal.

New South Wales is where silver mining began in Australia, and where the modern company known as BHP (ASX:BHP,NYSE:BHP,LSE:BHP) has roots dating back more than a century.

Silver was discovered at Broken Hill in the west of New South Wales in 1883. Two short years later, the Broken Hill Proprietary Company was floated, and from there the rest is history.

Broken Hill Proprietary, now known simply as BHP, rapidly became the largest mining company in Australia, and then the world, by diversifying, acquiring, merging and spreading its reach so that it had assets and interests on four continents — and it all began with the discovery of silver in New South Wales.


New South Wales' strong silver-mining history

BHP doesn't have silver operations in New South Wales today, but the legacy of silver continues in the state.

Australia has a reputation for being a desirable mining jurisdiction, but as an investment prospect, New South Wales is one of the country's less attractive areas, ranking fifth out of seven among its states and territories.

Globally, however, New South Wales is a safe bet, outranking Chile in mining investment attractiveness, according to the Fraser Institute's latest survey of mining companies.

There are at least five companies currently mining silver in the state, as per government data — though many of them are private. Publicly traded entities are accessible through the Australian Securities Exchange (ASX).

Overall, Australia is ranked among the top global producers of silver, sharing the title of fifth largest producer with Chile and Poland in 2020. It put out 1,300 tonnes of the precious metal that year.

It's worth noting that the amount of silver mined in Australia used to be much higher. Going back through US Geological Survey reports, the country enjoyed a spike in silver mining around the turn of the millennium, when annual production hovered around 2,000 tonnes per year. Since then, it's slowly fallen away to where it sits now.

For its part, New South Wales produced 128 tonnes of silver in the 2015/2016 financial year — a number that is fairly consistent year-on-year due to the number of operational mines located there. Within the region, silver is mined as a by-product at each operational mine, all of which are in the central part of the state.

ASX-listed silver stocks in New South Wales

As mentioned, quite a few of the companies mining silver in New South Wales are private, while others are public, but not listed on the ASX. Examples include China Molybdenum (OTC Pink:CMCLF,HKEX:3993) and Nonfemet.

Of course, public entities are busy in the state too. Read on for a look at some of the ASX-listed operators focused on silver in New South Wales. And if you're interested in jumping into the market, tools to learn how to invest on the ASX are freely available online through the ASX website — here's a little starter to make it even easier.

1. Newcrest Mining (ASX:NCM)

Market cap: AU$20.23 billion; current share price: AU$24.73

True to form, silver is produced as a by-product by the top mining company with silver operations in New South Wales — Newcrest Mining's Cadia operation is actually mainly centered on copper and gold. Even so, for the 12 months ended June 30, 2021, Cadia put out 643,000 ounces of the white metal, accounting for the vast majority of the company's overall silver production globally (945,000 ounces overall in the latest annual period).

2. Aeris Resources (ASX:AIS)

Market cap: AU$461.58 million; current share price: AU$0.21

Another company with interests mainly in copper and gold, Aeris Resources is the owner and operator of the Tritton copper operation. Silver plays so little a role in the company's profile that it doesn't list its output of the metal, but it has been hitting some silver mineralization in exploration works at Tritton over the last few months, with holes drilled at the Constellation deposit yielding results as fancy as 28.6 grams per tonne silver.

The company has also reported silver mineralization at the nearby Avoca Tank exploration project.

3. Silver Mines (ASX:SVL)

Market cap: AU$261.49 million; current share price: AU$0.21

Silver Mines is the owner of the Bowdens silver project in Central New South Wales, and the company describes it as one of Australia's largest undeveloped silver resources. The company also has interests in another two silver projects in the state: Conrad and Webbs, both located in the north.

The company's goal is to become one of Australia's preeminent silver companies.

A feasibility study for Bowdens was completed in 2018, and envisions a maiden ore reserve of 29.9 million tonnes at 69 grams per tonne silver, 0.44 percent zinc and 0.32 percent lead for a 16 year mine life initially. Since 2018, the company has fine tuned the proposed mine, and recently began a scoping study on underground mining.

Don't forget to follow us @INN_Australia for real-time updates!

Securities Disclosure: I, Scott Tibballs, currently hold no direct investment interest in any company mentioned in this article.