The annual gathering of the who's who in the Australian mining space kicked off on Monday in the gold mining town of Kalgoorlie, and the mood was cautiously optimistic buoyed by rising commodity prices in recent months.
While a 7 percent rise in the gold price and a more than 30 percent surge in nickel prices have encouraged the market, a report from Newport Consulting suggesting the Australian mining space could be in the doldrums for the next five years.
More than 90 percent of mining leaders surveyed in the report aren't optimistic about their growth prospects, Managing Director of Newport Consulting David Hand told CNBC.
"Our survey respondents are telling us they need higher commodity prices, they need better demand and they need governments around the world to be friendlier as well," Hand said on the sidelines of the Diggers and Dealers conference.
Still, Lord Mervyn King, former Bank of England Governor who delivered the keynote address at the conference, tried to sound a positive note, saying that while global growth was still relatively weak, a hard landing in China – a the biggest consumer of Australia resources – was unlikely.
"The short term indicators in China are more positive and I think more generally the developments we see in the world are likely to underpin commodity prices as people start to insure themselves against disruptions to supply," King said in a CNBC exclusive.