METS Ignited awards more cash to supply companies

Eight mining equipment, technology and services (METS) companies have received a total of $7.14 million as part of the Department of Industry, Innovation and Science’s four-year, $15.6 million commitment to address METS sector priorities.

The eight recipients of the funding will launch collaborative industry projects that provide solutions to a variety of mining challenges and improve the capability of the METS sector.

South Australian-based Resolution Systems received the largest share of the funding – $2 million – aimed to fund and develop software that will increase the efficiency of mine truck fleets.

Other projects include developing battery-powered vehicles for underground mining; data acquisition software for environmental rehabilitation and drilling; and a new process for water treatment.

The grant recipients also joined hands with an industry partner to secure equal or greater investment, bringing the total value of the eight projects to $17.4 million; these partners include Anglo American, BHP, Roy Hill Iron Ore, South 32, Tronox, among others.

METS Ignited chief executive Ric Gros said, “Opportunities for the sector to band together and innovate are vital to the growth of the sector.”

Perth-based Qtec, for example, jointly develop subsurface drilling sensors that will drastically reduce borehole drilling and logging costs with partners Wallis Drilling and Gyromax.

Qtec chief executive Tim Hopper said, “With our collaboration partners, we aim to be the first to commercialise a slim hole, real-time formation evaluation and drilling diagnostics sensor package positioned behind the drill bit.

“We are not constrained by our ambition – we simply need a little support from government to create those major export markets that are open to Australian innovation and ingenuity. The METS grant will help us achieve this ambition.”

The $7.4 million grant flowed from the METS Ignited Collaborative Project Funds, which was established to deliver highly-advanced solutions to a variety of mining challenges and improve the capability of the METS sector.

Here is the full list of the grant recipients, including their respective projects and funding:

University of Western Australia

Partners: BHP, CORE Innovation Hub
Collaborative Project Funds: $100,000
Industry investment: $100,000
Establishment of a dedicated Living Lab at UWA to enable METS companies to trial their technologiesto demonstrate performance to mining companies without the difficulty and expense of testing on mine sites.

Emapper

Partners: Roy Hill Iron Ore, Mt Gibson Iron, eagle.io, Astron Environmental Solais Geoinformatics
Collaborative Project Funds: $1.2 million
Industry investment: $1.2 million
The Emapper digital platform enables mining companies to meet their environmental rehabilitation obligations with greater certainty, more detail and at a significantly reduced cost – a complete picture of rehabilitation progress is available online in real time.

Energetique Mining Vehicles

Partners: Aeris Resources, Safescape, Minetech Australia, Cougar Mining Group
Collaborative Project Funds: $500,000
Industry investment: $700,000
Underground mining is moving to adopt battery electric vehicles (BEV) globally because of lower emissions, heat loads and maintenance costs. This project will enable Energetique to use its well-developed electric vehicle design capability to build and supply the Australian market initially before expanding overseas.

IMDEX

Partners: Orica, Anglo American, Teck Resources
Collaborative Project Funds: $1 million
Industry investment: $1 million
Overcoming an existing lack of geological data by enabling the collection of real-time data during blasthole drilling, and therefore producing more efficient blast designs.

Qtec

Partners: Wallis Drilling, Gyromax
Collaborative Project Funds: $239,000
Industry investment: $239,000
This project will produce sensors and instrumentation for drilling – similar to those used in the oil and gas industry – that can withstand the mining environment and will lead to cost reductions in drilling of up to 50 per cent.

Micronised Mineral Systems

Partners: Tronox, Acadis Australia Pacific, Tech Bakery
Collaborative Project Funds: $210,950
Industry investment: $210,950
Demonstrating a new process for treating residual water on mine sites so it is environmentally benign at a much reduced operating and capital cost.

Resolution Systems

Partners: Barrick, Macmahon, South32, Petra Data Science, Manta Controls
Collaborative Project Funds: $2 million
Industry investment: $3.5 million
Development of sophisticated fleet management software which allows different operational areas of mine sites to communicate with one another and increase mine truck fleet productivity by 20 per cent.

Manufacturing Intelligence Pty Ltd

Partners: FMG, South32, Mining3 Enterprise Transformation Partners
Collaborative Project Funds: $980,000
Industry investment: $1.49 million
Mine sites typically use multiple software packages to plan and manage all of the mining processes. This project will provide software to remove the constraints in moving data from one package to another, thus unlocking significant productivity improvements.