KPMG Risks and Opportunities for Mining - Global Mining Risk Report 2020, launched in Perth yesterday, also saw permitting risk in the second spot for the second year running.
"There is pressure on global growth driving some uncertainty with commodity pricing," KPMG global and Australian mining industry lead Trevor Hart said.
"This is keeping mining executives awake at night at the moment - and we have seen a stronger focus on financial risk management because of that."
The survey of 140 global mining executives was conducted before the coronavirus outbreak.
"While we recognise the current presence and impacts of the COVID-19 virus outbreak we also see resilience: the mining sector is accustomed to dealing with commodity price volatility whilst risk management is at the core of mining industry operations," Hart said.
Access to capital rose one spot to third, replacing community relations and social licence, which fell one spot.
Political instability rose from seventh to fifth, while economic downturn/uncertainty dropped one spot to sixth.
Regulatory and compliance changes rose one spot to seventh, incorporating environmental risk, which was 10th last year.
The two new entries were the global trade war in eighth and tailings management in 10th.
Reserve replacement fell from sixth to ninth, while controlling operating costs, which was ninth last year, fell out of the top 10.
Interestingly, the Australia-specific results were quite different.
The top risk for Australian respondents at climate change and natural disasters at more than 50%, compared to only 20% globally.
KMPG national board advisory services lead partner and mining risk specialist Caron Sugars said for Australian respondents, bushfires and drought were likely front of mind when the survey was conducted.
"This risk considers both the climate change impact on assets and operations (significant weather events, asset degradation) as well as the uncertainty surrounding society and government's response to climate change," she said.
"Whilst in previous years environmental risk has been captured in social licence to operate risk, the survey outcomes indicate that addressing climate change risk is now viewed, by Australian based miners, as a far broader imperative."
Commodity price risk was second for Australian miners, followed by the trade war, economic downturn and regulatory and compliance changes.