Tag Archives: Adrian Beer

Polymathian finds funding for automation work at OZ Minerals’ Carrapateena

Polymathian will be spearheading a A$2 million ($1.5 million) industrial mathematics project funded by industry partners and METS Ignited, and focused on OZ Minerals’ Carrapateena mine in South Australia.

This project will form part of the Industry Growth Centre’s latest Tranche 4 Collaborative Project funds totalling a combined investment of A$6 million, METS Ignited said.

The grant was awarded to Polymathian’s project at OZ Minerals’ Carrapateena copper-gold mine where, in collaboration with OZ Minerals, Downer, Deswik and others, the company is applying industrial mathematics to deploy the world’s first highly automated short interval control (SIC) system for the near real-time optimisation of sub-level cave development and production mining.

Project Lead and Partner at Polymathian, Steven Donaldson, said: “This funding allows us to marry industrial mathematics, automation and mine planning to optimise asset value at Carrapateena and explore how SIC can be done going forward.”

By applying industrial mathematics to the SIC process, the project collaboration automates the optimisation of the mine plan and autonomously dispatches tasks to the underground fleet by responding to live data.

Plans can be updated to respond to dynamic changes in the mine, as live data is received and assumptions change, according to the company. For example, at a weekly level, plans are updated as required for a rolling seven-day window, rather than on a set schedule for a fixed seven-day period. This avoids having fixed weekly plans that are at risk of becoming out-dated.

Matthew Fargher, OZ Minerals’ Senior Engineer for Long Term Planning at Carrapateena, said: “This project pursues a world first in mine planning where the mine plan is autonomously optimised and tasks dispatched in semi real-time to the underground fleet. By doing so, we can potentially remove value destroying constraints such as self-imposed time horizons and subjectivity in decision making to deliver the next best decision.

“We are excited to be a part of the team that’s delivering the blueprint for mine planning and executional change globally.”

Donaldson added: “The potential market for this tool is really quite large as the way we are solving the problem is very generic. We see this solution having potential to optimise operations across all hard-rock underground mines in Australia and globally.”

The project also has the potential to create new jobs at Polymathian including accelerating the growth of its newly opened Perth office.

METS Ignited Chief Executive, Adrian Beer, says the quality and capability of the funding applicants is becoming increasingly more sophisticated, with a number of the solutions having broader applicability across a number of sectors.

“This round of project fund recipients demonstrates just how capable our leading global METS sector is, and what is possible within our local technology sector,” Beer said.

“We are extremely proud of what has been achieved by the project fund recipients to date, and this new addition to the project funding shows that we have a huge potential to build upon.”

Mine electrification shift could create new business opportunities, report says

Heightened social pressure and a need for economically efficient mining practices will see Australia’s mining industry shift towards a future of automation, electrification and the ultimate goal of zero emissions on site, according to the State of Play: Electrification report.

The report states the majority (89%) of the globe’s leading mining executives expect mine sites across the world to electrify within the next 20 years.

Electrification is a game changer for the mining industry as it allows the complete removal of diesel from mines and, when combined with renewable energy, results in a decarbonised mine site.

Australia’s leading mining companies such as Rio Tinto, BHP, South 32 and OZ Minerals – along with Tesla – provided input into the report, which uncovered that the need to shift to low footprint, electric mines is being driven by economic, environmental and health related opportunities.

More specifically, nearly 79% of mining executives believe there will be a health-related industry class action in the next 15 years and 91% expect the shift to electrics will create new business opportunities.

It’s these perceived health risks – if nothing changes – and economic benefits that State of Play Co-Founder and Chairman, Graeme Stanway, says is driving the industry to take a close look at current practices and think: how can we do this better?

“Electric equipment will allow for a shift from the typical underground mine sites we see today in Australia with many pieces of heavy equipment, powered by diesel, operating underground in confined spaces alongside teams of people, towards a clean future of mining, not seen before,” he said.

“A future where machinery is safe, automated and battery powered; this would effectively cut out two of the biggest issues in mining: carbon impact and particulate exposure and result in zero carbon emission mines.”

While the industry as a whole understands these benefits, when it comes to individually implementing them as an organisation, cost becomes a key hurdle, according to Stanway.

“Our data shows renewables, all electric systems and batteries will help fuel the change towards a healthier, economically viable future of mining, but uncertainty remains when it comes to to which area to invest in first, and how,” Stanway says.

He says the industry should focus on collaborating to overcome cost barriers and uncertainty in technology choices that may be beyond the capacity of individual companies. And, while the mass adoption of electrification technology has so far been low, key players such as Independence Group, Gold Fields, South32, OZ Minerals and Barminco are joining forces to accelerate achieving the goal of zero emissions mines.

METS Ignited CEO, Adrian Beer, is part of this collaboration and says Australian mining companies have a huge advantage compared with their global counterparts when it comes to alternative energy sources.

“Here, in Australia, we have an abundance of renewables that the industry is tapping into, particularly in our most remote operations,” he said. “Local mine sites have the opportunity to install solar and wind, and battery energy storage systems to power their operations at a much cheaper cost than many global players.”

He added: “For the country to fully realise the opportunity of zero emissions mines, we also need to be able to effectively implement these technologies. We need to modernise our regulatory framework, and consider what skills our sector will need, across the entire range of the workforce, from trades and technicians, university graduates, through to our scientists and PhDs.”

Collaborative project featuring Gold Fields looks to revolutionise gold plant data analysis

Gold Fields, Orway IQ, CSIRO, Curtin University and Gekko Systems have come together to commercialise a complete solution package for collecting and analysing gold plant data in real time.

This is a process that will revolutionise the industry’s ability to measure circuit inventory and recovery in real time, move it into the digital world and provide opportunity for full automation, according to Gekko.

Earlier this month, METS Ignited Industry Growth Centre announced the consortium as recipients of the Tranche 4 Collaborative Project Funds. The METS Ignited funding will assist the development of a system to collect and analyse real-time gold reconciliations and automate gold processing plants by providing the technology, software, skills and expertise to the miners as an integrated package.

“In a world-first, the project draws together a range of technologies and skill sets that are the first step to truly understanding what is happening in a gold production plant in real time and will eventually lead to a fully autonomous gold plant,” Gekko said.

METS Ignited CEO, Adrian Beer, said the project funding is supporting the commercialisation of innovation developed in partnership with industry, research and Australia’s mining equipment technology and services (METS) companies.

“The METS Ignited Collaborative Project Funds are a catalyst for industry collaboration to enable commercial pathways for Australian technology to deliver global results,” he said.

Gold Field’s Processing Projects Coordinator, Matt Dixon, said the value of this collaboration was having information available in real time to make decisions.

“The METS Ignited project is looking to integrate multiple technologies to achieve a step change in the automation and optimisation of gold processing,” he said. “Recent innovations by CSIRO and Curtin University, in partnership with Gekko Systems, are now making the potential to monitor gold in real time a reality.”

Gold Fields has chosen the Gruyere gold mine (owned 50:50 with Gold Road Resources) as the site to install and test these technologies, according to Dixon.

“Combining the OLGA (OnLine Gold Analyser, pictured) and Carbon Scout, with newly developed data capture and analytics technologies, aims to provide a step change to how we measure, monitor and optimise gold recovery,” he said.

This is a “world-first project”, creating a technological capability that does not yet exist anywhere else in the gold sector, according to Dixon.

The project will address current difficulties in accounting for gold during production, lag times in assessing data and adapting procedures to maximise production from the data provided and the safety around a number of those procedures.

The ultimate aim is to have gold process and recovery data being analysed within minutes rather than days from anywhere in the world and for production to be adapted to reflect this data, Gekko said.

3ME and Batt Mobile Equipment showcase new 20 t battery-electric loader

A new underground mine electric vehicle (EV) has been showcased in Newcastle, New South Wales, Australia, promising a “rEVolution for mining operations”.

The ‘TRITEV is believed to be the first fully battery-electric retrofit 20 t loader suitable for deployment into underground hard-rock mines. It has been developed in Australia for the mining industry alongside Safescape’s Bortana EV, launched in 2019.

A collaboration between 3ME Technology and Batt Mobile Equipment to deliver the fully operational TRITEV prototype is anticipated to represent a successful shift away from diesel-run vehicles for Aeris Resources and its Tritton copper project in New South Wales.

With the TRITEV now complete and operating with a capability that meets or exceeds the diesel variant, 3ME Technology believes the platform will be a key player in the drive to decarbonise, and eliminate the issue of diesel particulate matter underground all while saving on the high operating costs associated with mine shaft ventilation and the running of an ageing diesel fleet.

The electric vehicle has been developed under the METS Ignited Collaborative Project Funds, which bring together Australian METS companies, global suppliers, mine operators, research organisations and capital providers to support the improved productivity, competitiveness and innovative capacity of the Australia’s leading METS sector.

Justin Bain, 3ME Technology’s CEO, who unveiled the TRITEV at this week’s event, said: “The TRITEV has been the result of a heavily collaborative effort. Whilst it’s been a challenging integration process, we’ve enjoyed working closely with all parties and we are now in position to replicate these models at scale.

“It’s been an absolute pleasure working with the team at Batt Mobile Equipment. Their industry knowledge, vehicle design expertise and mechanical acumen is second to none. We felt today would be the perfect time to announce we have formalised our partnership, which we believe will mark the Hunter [Valley] as a powerhouse in the battery-electric mining space.”

METS Ignited CEO, Adrian Beer, said the showcase highlights the immense capability of Australia’s METS sector to deliver technologies to improve sustainable mining practices.

“METS Ignited Industry Growth Centre is pleased to support the commercialisation of technologies enabling safety improvements for Australia’s mining industry and potential global partners,” Beer said.

3ME Technology COO, Martin Kime, said the TRITEV is already receiving strong interest from the underground mining industry.

“With hundreds of these platforms in mines across Australia, we have seen significant interest from other miners in the battery-electric retrofit of existing platforms,” Kime said. “From the conversations we’ve had, what is driving the orders we’ve received is the recognition that there is an absolute need to remove diesel and many miners realise that by getting in early they will secure access to the platforms.

“Given the demand, we look forward to bringing jobs to the Hunter, helping with the COVID recovery whilst creating next-generation, clean-battery technology!”

With a range of additional mining vehicles out there to be electrified, building on the success of the ‘Project EVmine’, it is anticipated the METS Ignited, Safescape, Aeris Resources, 3ME Technology, Batt Mobile Equipment partnership will continue with its quest to electrify underground mining to increase the standards of workplace health and safety for the miners, benefit the environment while allowing miners be more competitive on the global market via significant savings to operating expenses, METS Ignited said.

METS Ignited to fund four collaborative mining technology projects

In line with the Federal Government’s recently published Modern Manufacturing Strategy, METS Ignited has announced the latest award of projects as a part of its Industry Growth Centre collaborative project funds.

It has announced the award of METS Ignited Tranche 4 Collaborative Project Funds, with the combined investment of over A$6 million ($4.3 million) from METS Ignited and industry partners going to AMOG Pty Limited, Gekko Systems, Polymathian, and Universal Field Robotics.

The fourth round of the funds focused on the application of analytics, automation and robotics in the mining industry. The selected projects have originated in the local market, are industry-led, and are projected to deliver a high degree of global impact potential and substantial benefits to the METS sector, according to the group.

The success of these four projects with over 17 industry partners in total is projected to deliver almost two hundred new roles, and generate a combined revenue contribution of over A$100 million for the sector, it said.

“METS Ignited’s role as an Industry Growth Centre is to lead collaboration between Australian mining equipment technology and service (METS) companies, global suppliers, mine operators, research organisations and capital providers to support the improved productivity, competitiveness and innovative capacity of the Australia’s world-leading METS sector,” METS Ignited said.

METS Ignited Chief Executive, Adrian Beer, says the quality and capability of the funding applicants is becoming increasingly more sophisticated, with a number of the solutions having broader applicability across a number of sectors.

“This round of project fund recipients demonstrates just how capable our leading global METS sector is, and what is possible within our local technology sector,” Beer said. “We are extremely proud of what has been achieved by the project fund recipients to date, and this new addition to the project funding shows that we have a huge potential to build upon.”

(pictured is Polymathian’s ORB mining optimisation software)

Australia METS sector receives government boost

Australia’s mining equipment and technology services (METS) sector is set to benefit from further funding from the government’s SME Export Hubs Initiative after being named in the Australia Government’s recent financial support program.

Karen Andrews, the Minister for Industry, Science and Technology, and Simon Birmingham, the Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment, said the funding would allow small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) in Australia to tap into new markets around the world.

In the METS sector, specifically, the SME METS Export Hub Initiative will be expanded into Victoria and Western Australia through the A$1.025 million grant, according to industry-led, Australia government-funded, growth centre for the METS sector, METS Ignited.

The growth centre said the news was a boost for Western Australia METS where the Digital Mining Export Hub aims to build a digital mining capability network. In Victoria, meanwhile, the Export Hub will focus on METS capability acceleration, with both programs linking SMEs to international growth opportunities.

METS Ignited CEO, Adrian Beer, said the expansion of the initiative was great news for METS exporters across the country, providing growth and capability development opportunities and increased international market access.

“METS Ignited is very supportive of the SME Export Hub funding announcement which highlights the importance of the METS sector to the national economy,” he said. “The expansion of the program to include Austmine to lead the Export Hubs for Western Australia and Victoria will not only provide growth and capability development opportunities for METS exporters but also an opportunity to enhance Australian METS’ reputation internationally.

“We look forward to seeing the growth outcomes for the sector.”

The SME Export Hubs Initiative is supported by Industry Growth Centres to advance the establishment of local and regional hubs to assist Australia businesses to take their products and services to the global market, according to METS Ignited.

Miners not taking cybersecurity risks seriously, report finds

While cybersecurity is today considered a major threat to all industrial companies, a recent report out of Australia has concluded it will take a catastrophic event for it to be taken seriously in the mining industry.

Through interviews, survey and analysis of Australia’s largest mining and service companies, including BHP, Rio Tinto, South32, and Anglo American, the ‘State of Play: Cyber Security Report’, from researchers at State of Play, has uncovered that 98% of top-level executives think a catastrophic event is required to drive an industry response to cybersecurity in mining.

This is despite State of Play Chairman and Co-founder, Graeme Stanway, saying the risk of cybersecurity failures in mining could be severe.

“In an increasingly automated and interconnected world, the risk of rogue systems and equipment is growing rapidly,” he says.

“If someone hacks into a mining system, they can potentially take remote control of operational equipment. That’s the level of risk that we are facing.”

Global Head of Cybersecurity at BHP, Thomas Leen, agreed and said the mining industry is up against archaic processes when it comes to evolving on the cybersecurity front.

“Mining as an industry has a low level of cybersecurity maturity, mainly due to legacy environments that lack basic capabilities,” he says.

The report went on to find that the second most likely driver to instigate change, after a catastrophic event, will be government led initiatives and responses.

Michelle Price, CEO of independent, not-for-profit organisation, AustCyber, believes public-private partnership is the key to driving change in the way the mining industry approaches cybersecurity.

“AustCyber has collaborated with METS Ignited and State of Play to conduct this survey as we see the potential to improve cybersecurity across the mining environment,” she says.

“There are several challenges specific to the mining sector as documented in the Australian Cyber Security Industry Roadmap, developed in conjunction with CSIRO – such as operational technology, connected equipment and sensors, availability of data, anomaly detection and the volatility of markets.

“There are plenty of growth opportunities – especially when the sector collaborates with organisations like AustCyber to have a coordinated voice on the kind of support it needs to push forward cyber resilience.”

South32 Head of Cybersecurity, Clayton Brazil, sees this collaboration as a strength of cybersecurity in the mining industry. “Cybersecurity is incredibly collaborative in mining, we know it’s a critical industry for our nation and we all want to be safer,” he says.

Brazil sees a strong cybersecurity capability as a strategic opportunity for South32. “Done properly, cybersecurity can be a competitive advantage for us,” he said.

Interestingly, when asked what is the most likely motivation for cyber attacks, 50% of responses identified extortion and theft as the most likely cause, followed by competition with 21% and politics with 19%.

METS Ignited CEO, Adrian Beer, says industry growth and sustainability will come from collaboration and the implementation of standards. “Mining operations are still made up of legacy closed systems that have customised integrations between them,” he says.

“However, the modern technology vendor community is trying to overcome these systems with new models; building collaboration and trust between mining and the technology sector will create a secure sustainable future.”

Beer also believes standards have a two-prong role to play. “There is clearly a need for both a strong set of standards to define what good looks like in terms of cybersecurity more broadly, and a set of industry standards to ensure that the specific needs are met to deliver those secure outcomes.”

ABB’s Adrian Beer to replace Dover as METS Ignited CEO

METS Ignited has appointed Adrian Beer as its new CEO, solidifying, the company says, “the organisation’s focus on delivering outcomes for the sector and responding to the opportunities presented by Industry 4.0”.

Announcing the appointment, METS Ignited Chair, Lyle Bruce said Beer is a globally experienced executive with a broad range of industry skills spanning more than 20 years in the METS (mining equipment technology and services) and mining sectors.

“Adrian’s experience with global METS and mining organisations and his international relationships will help METS Ignited to grow and expand local opportunities,” Bruce said.

Beer, who took up the hot seat today, was previously Asia-Pacific regional leader for ABB Enterprise Software. He joined ABB to lead the information technology/operational technology integration strategy for mining, including responsibility for both product management and solution strategy of ABB’s Intelligent Mining and Enterprise Asset Management product lines, METS Ignited said.

Prior to ABB, Adrian was a founding member of GE Mining, the business unit of General Electric responsible for its mining business operations in Australia, New Zealand and South East Asia.

Increasingly, METS Ignited’s programs have taken on a digital technology focus to equip Australia METS companies with the tools and skills they need to win more work and grow their businesses, the growth centre said.

“The new CEO has worked for two of the largest technology companies in the world, bringing with him first-hand experience of the impact of technology on global asset intensive industries,” METS Ignited said.

Acting CEO, Ian Dover, said the appointment is exciting for both the industry growth centre and the sector.

“Adrian comes to us with a real depth of knowledge and experience from right across the mining value chain, including the global METS companies that are vital to efficient mining operations, making this a great coup for us and the small and large companies we support.”

Reflecting on his appointment, Beer said this is an exciting time to be returning to the METS sector and he is looking forward to being able to support the METS and mining sectors through the industry growth centre.

“I am very impressed with what METS Ignited has already achieved and I am very excited by the opportunity to truly cement Australia’s position as a global hub for innovation in the METS sector,” he said.

Earlier this year, METS Ignited was awarded two more years of funding in recognition of the impact it is already having on individual METS companies and the Australia economy, it said.