Hitachi prioritises mining with $875m innovation push

Hitachi held a Social Innovation Forum in Brisbane yesterday, revealing it had spent $875 million in Australian investment in social innovation over the last 18 months, the majority of which went to the mining industry.

The Hitachi Social Innovation Forum 2017 was a half day event focusing on mining and agriculture, which attendee Keiko Yanai, consul-general of Japan, referred to as two significant pillars in Australian-Japanese trade. The forum featured a panel discussion entitled ‘Digital Transformation in Mining: Improving Safety and Reducing Costs in Large-Scale Mining’, which elaborated on the future of the Australian mining industry.

Hitachi believes that by 2030, the Australian mining industry, which it calls a world leader, will be almost entirely autonomous, citing the rise of integrated operations centres, already entrenched autonomous vehicles, including Hitachi’s own autonomous haulage system, and drone image analysis, as well as other analytics-focused technologies.

The company also stressed the implementation of Internet of Things (IoT) solutions, allowing for the implementation of strategies offsite.

“Embracing smart technology including digitisation and IoT in the mining industry is imperative for Australia to maintain its leadership position,” according to managing director of Hitachi, Atsushi Konishi.

“There are several large mining companies looking at Australia to implement new digital technologies in order to then replicate them in other regions of the world.”

Hitachi now employs 3650 employees in Australia, an increase of 2000 since 2016, and is on course to attain $3.75 billion in Australian revenues by 2020, three times its 2015 total.

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