METS Ignited has appointed Adrian Beer as its new chief executive officer to guide the organisation’s move into the “execution phase” as an industry growth centre.
Beer will take the reins from Ian Dover at a time when the “challenges facing the industry are significant”, an issue the new CEO says presents an array of opportunities.
“The rate of innovation has never been greater as we’re moving rapidly from data to analytics, from automation to robotics, and digital twins,” Beer tells Australian Mining.
“METS companies have a long history of providing reliable and unique solutions to mining industry challenges. Australia has been a fantastic incubator for innovation, with some of the world’s leading technologies being developed in this country.”
Beer will be returning to the Australian METS sector after beginning his career working in hands-on roles across mining, materials handling, mineral processing and recovery.
His resume also includes working as general manager of Australasia at Actronic Technologies and regional mining leader at Generic Electric.
His more recent tenures include being alternate director at Austmine, before assuming his most recent role as senior vice president of leading Swiss tech company, ABB.
Beer says his priorities heading into the new role include advancing the METS industry growth centre, which is well under way through a number of initiatives.
METS Ignited has already driven growth in the sector with $30 million in funding for innovation through its collaborative project funds and supporting METS scale-ups in securing over $12 million in new contracts and investment through accelerator programs.
The focus will now be the ramp up and scaling of METS companies to help them become established beyond local Australian markets, according to Beer.
“My focus will be pushing to deliver more through stronger partnerships and encouraging more collaborative engagement across sectors,” Beer says.
“We also have more engagement work to do – on STEM and gender equality – there is too much brain power out there we are not yet tapping into, not to mention the fact that our young people don’t seem to have visibility of the opportunities for innovation within METS.”
Beer insists the fundamental objectives for the sector remains the same, but there is an urgent need for the industry to “move much faster.”
“The rate of commercialisation of innovative solutions is still not where it needs to be,” Beer says.
“Whilst we have seen and shown many amazing examples of innovation taking place between individual METS companies and the mining sector – we have yet to reach a point where we have established a sustainable collaborative ecosystem; where many companies co-operate together at an industry level to develop the next generation of technologies.”
Beer also points to economic analysis that suggests the mining sector can transition more jobs to future work than will be lost due to automation, with the greatest benefit to Australian mining coming from “grass-roots integration and the application of data analytics.”
“When we take into consideration the effect automation has already had on the sector the traditional roles and job functions that were displaced have now been offset by the increase in a whole range of new roles that are required to deliver the outcome,” Beer says.
“We are increasing safety, reliability, consistency and efficiency – but to achieve this we need a mix of experience and industry knowledge, and a new set of roles, skills and capabilities in the METS sector to support them.”
Realising the challenges faced by the sector, Beer emphasises that “Australia has an amazing track record for innovation” and expressed that he is “extremely excited by the opportunities that lie ahead for the sector.”