Internet in a Commodity Mining Company

Internet in a Commodity Mining Company

Pat Foley (University of Melbourne, Australia) and Danny Samson (University of Melbourne, Australia)
Copyright: © 2006 |Pages: 6
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-59140-799-7.ch106
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Abstract

On August 16, 1999, the world’s first Internet commodity exchange-traded metals sale took place when WMC, an Australian resources company, sold five tons of cobalt at $18.25 a pound. Some metal traders had been buying and selling steel through Web sites, however, commodity exchange-traded metals had lagged behind the steel industry in the use of e-commerce, with most nonferrous companies and exchanges offering only information on products and services through the Web while continuing to trade using standard processes. WMC had introduced electronic commerce to one of the world’s oldest industries and became the first metal producer to use the Internet to support the marketing of nonferrous metals. This was only the beginning for WMC. In the mid- and late 1990s, high-technology e-stocks boomed. There were excited discussions about a new economy that was commonly presumed to be immune to the cyclical problems that confronted the resource sector. As the resource shares were declining, commentators were talking about an Internet gold rush. A new-economy gold fever had gripped investors. Mining companies were treated as relics of an old economy. They were seen as old-economy companies using rusting-edge practices that reflected their dinosaur-sized machinery. It seemed inconceivable that a mining company could sell a larger tonnage of product over the Internet than Amazon.com and make a profit that Amazon had not yet achieved

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