BHP has signed Melbourne-based technology company Southern Innovation to assist the mining giant in mineral exploration and extraction.
The contract is a multi-year collaboration agreement that will involve Southern Innovation in uncovering solutions to challenges BHP faces.
Southern Innovation and BHP have worked together since 2015, having developed and commercialised technology that improves the performance of radiation-based analysis in mining applications.
The company’s engagement with BHP over the last three years has successfully developed new-to-world METS technology and products in Australia and enabled Southern Innovation to double its workforce.
“With this new research and ongoing product development work, we will be adding even more employees dedicated to this task with a view to redoubling our workforce over two years,” Southern Innovation chief executive officer David Scoullar said.
BHP vice president of technology global transformation Rag Udd added the deal highlights the company’s support of the mining equipment, technology and services (METS) sector.
“Our continuing engagement with the METS sector ensures that our industry successfully adapts to technological change, while creating and sustaining global technological and skills leadership in key areas of mining and our supply chain,” he said.
“An internationally competitive, appropriately skilled and innovative METS sector is critical to help maintain Australia’s leading position in the global resources sector.”
Industry body for the METS sector, Austmine, has supported Southern Innovation since 2015, and more recently with grant funding via the entrepreneurs’ program.
Austmine chief executive officer Christine Gibbs Stewart said the relationship between BHP and Southern Innovation highlights how companies within the sector can work together, regardless of size.
“It’s critically important that emerging METS companies can access customers, funding, expertise and networks to enable the development and commercialisation of disruptive technologies in the METS sector,” she said.
“Southern Innovation is a great example of how small, agile innovators can help big businesses like BHP solve previously intractable challenges.”