The annual Diggers & Dealers Mining Forum kicked off in Kalgoorlie, Australia's gold capital, on Monday with talk centering on somber themes: shrinking market caps, cost cuts and consolidation.
In a report released at the opening of what is the local mining industry's premier conference, Deloitte revealed that Western Australian's top 100 listed companies shed 11.6 percent of their value during the 2015 financial year.
"Commodity prices were the real driver, almost every single commodity was down in the year to June 2015. Uranium was the only one that was actually up," Tim Richards, markets partner at Deloitte, told CNBC on the sidelines of the forum. "It was a tough year."
He added that the 11.6 percent decline came even after May's listing of South32—a new mining group spun off from BHP Billiton—that added $11.3 billion, or 8.4 percent, to the overall market capitalization.
Western Australia (WA) has been the epicenter of country's mining boom over the past decade. Rich in gold, iron ore, energy and zinc, the state's revenues helped Australia survive the global financial crisis when many of its developed peers struggled, but the recent commodity rout has triggered cost cuts across the board, resulting in a protracted industry slowdown.
So, how are miners surviving?
For Karl Simich, managing director of mid-tier miner Sandfire Resources, reducing expenses to a bare minimum is his top priority.
"The other important thing is we must make sure to optimize the business and become as efficient as possible. You've got to be careful to not spend too much money, or save too money, cutting off your nose to spite your face," he told CNBC on Monday "You may find you need to go through a period of just breaking even or making small losses, but making sure you preserve the business' long-term value."