METs export hubs to drive regional economic growth


Austmine discusses how the industry body will develop export hubs to guide the mining equipment, technology and services sector’s expansion across Australia.

This year has been a challenging and uncertain time for Australian businesses, particularly in regional areas.

Beginning with the dual disasters of horrific bushfires and devastating drought, the global COVID-19 pandemic brought a new wave of challenges that are unprecedented in our times.

As we continue the recovery from these crises, governments, associations, industry bodies and other stakeholders are working hard to support the re-emergence and future growth of businesses around the country.

Austmine, the leading industry body for the Australian mining equipment, technology and services (METS) sector, is focussing on supporting small to mid-sized enterprises (SMEs) to engage with global customers and supply chains with the launch of METS Export Hubs in Western Australia and Victoria.

The aim of this initiative is to accelerate export market entry of METS companies through capability development and linkages with international growth opportunities.

The Hubs’ services will be rolled out across three stages to build a solid platform from which export outcomes can be generated, beginning with connecting SMEs into each of the Hubs, and progressing to focus on capability development and links with international opportunities.

The Hubs are being funded under the Australian Government’s Department of Industry, Science, Energy and Resources Small and Medium Enterprises (SME) Export Hubs initiative. They are also being established in partnership with the Victorian Department of Jobs, Precincts and Regions, and the Western Australian (WA) Department of Jobs, Tourism, Science and Innovation, which are both contributing funding.

Austmine chief executive Christine Gibbs Stewart says, “Australian METS are leaders in mining innovation and technology on a global scale, and our Hubs will be critical in helping a diverse range of SMEs share their capabilities, expertise and unique solutions with the world.

“The Hubs will strengthen the competitive positioning of the sector and create export-focussed METS companies through building capabilities to address the needs of customers, facilitating knowledge sharing within a strong METS cohort and providing the skills needed to export.

“While it might seem that a focus on exporting at a time like this doesn’t make sense, in fact, it does. Given the planning needed, preparing now for when countries emerge from the crisis means that we will be ready.”

WA to lead digital mining

WA has emerged as a global leader in digital mining by leveraging a diverse local industry of start-up hubs, innovation centres, major customers and entrepreneurial SMEs.

These businesses now have the opportunity to take their digital solutions global and bring regional firms with them.

“Our WA METS Digital Mining Export Hub will build a strong digital mining state-wide network to strengthen the skills of regional SMEs and make sure they are up to speed with their own digital capability development and understand customer requirements in this regard,” Gibbs Stewart says.

It will operate across five regions of mining expertise in Bunbury, Kalgoorlie, Newman, Karratha and Port Hedland. The network will include companies based in Perth to leverage the reputation and expertise of WA as the leader in digital mining solutions.

Emerging mining innovation leader

Victoria is rarely viewed as a key contributor to mining in Australia, but for the METS sector that is far from the truth.

Born from a rich history of gold prospecting and a unique operating environment amid local communities, Victorian METS lead the world in areas such as advanced manufacturing, minerals processing, drilling and community engagement.

Gibbs Stewart remarks, “The Victorian METS sector doesn’t often receive the kudos they deserve from their involvement in advancing sustainable and safe mining. Leveraging Victoria’s strength in advanced manufacturing, the Hub recognises this leadership on a global scale.”

The Victorian Hub will operate across five regions of mining expertise in Ballarat, Bendigo, Stawell, the La Trobe Valley and Geelong. The Hub will link these regions to support and resources in metropolitan centres and international nodes.

Emerging from disruption

Austmine is working closely with state and federal government partners on this project to ensure SMEs can access critical support to develop export capabilities and create a platform for sustainable business growth.

Following an uncertain and disruptive time for Australian exporters, the METS Export Hubs will be critical in getting Australian businesses moving again.

Gibbs Stewart says, “The Australian METS sector exports over $15 billion annually of products and services to every corner of the globe, which is more than beef, wheat and wine exports combined.

“We have seen the export business of a number of METS companies severely impacted during this unprecedented health crisis. Offering a central platform and support network to access resources, opportunities and export knowledge will help businesses get back on track.”

If you would like to find out more about Austmine’s Export Hubs and their other offerings and initiatives, please visit

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