Punch connects regional METS at Austmine

Four of the nine regional companies invited by the WA government will come from Kalgoorlie.

The Western Australian Government invited nine of its regional mining equipment, technology and services (METS) companies to the 2021 Austmine conference, ensuring small to medium businesses keep connected to the mining sector.

The conference has become a leader in the dissemination of mining innovation for the 1000 local, national and international guests it welcomes each year.

The companies, hand-picked by the state government, arrived from Kalgoorlie (four companies), Dunsborough, Margaret River, Port Hedland, Karratha and Bunbury.

In his opening remarks at the conference, Innovation and ICT Minister Don Punch said it was important for representatives from all corners of the sector to have access to such an important event.

“Our partnership with Austmine is helping to ensure METS companies from across regional WA are connected to the digital mining ecosystem and are continuing to develop the market understanding needed to maximise the opportunities offered by new global supply chains,” Punch said.

“We want to make sure that geography is not a barrier to global success for our regional METS companies.”

The nine companies were all members of Austmine’s WA METS Digital Mining Export Hub which launched in September 2020 to bring companies together outside of the two-day conference.

In further efforts to benefit small and medium METS businesses, the Western Australian Government has contributed $1.5 million to advance net zero emissions mining projects.

Mines and Petroleum Minister Bill Johnston said the state government realised the importance of uplifting the METS sector into a future of decarbonisation.

“The McGowan Government is committed to supporting research and development in Western Australia’s mining sector and ensuring it remains a world leader in the METS sector,” Johnston said.

“(The funding) will support the diversification of our state’s economy, and progress research on overcoming the challenges to decarbonise the mining sector.”

Funding will be increasingly important according to BHP Western Australia Iron Ore (WAIO) asset president Brandon Craig, who presented at Austmine on day one.

Craig said BHP will be applying a major focus on automation, as the technology improves and the need for more safe and efficient operations becomes compulsory.

“It will make us safer. It will drive exceptional levels of performance and make us more productive. And critically, it will enable social value by underpinning the transitions already underway to a more sustainable future,” he said.

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