Tag Archives: 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.”

Australia has much to gain from resource sector technology advances, report says

Harnessing new technologies in the mining, oil and gas industries will add A$74 billion ($50 billion) to the Australian economy by 2030 and create more than 80,000 new local jobs, according to a new report from METS Ignited and NERA.

Titled ‘Staying Ahead of the Game Report’, the report says data analytics, automation and robotics technologies continue to transform the resources sector and Australia needs to be at the forefront of technological progress or risk other countries taking the lead.

The report was designed to attempt to predict the nature and scale of how Australia’s resources industries, including both the producers and their supply chains, might change if they fully embraced the latest advances in operational technologies such as analytics, automation and robotics.

It further analysed what these changes mean for employment and workforce development (especially in the operations areas across regional Australia), and the wider economy.

To estimate the impact of these technological changes, the report analysed 30 types of technological innovation considered most relevant and carried out more than four dozen interviews with industry and technology experts to support the findings.

It also laid out a four-step roadmap that, it said, will lead Australia to success. The four steps were around strengthening collaboration, creating and supporting national cross-industry automation technology clusters, expanding the “entrepreneurial ecosystem” and boosting skills and research and development.

Australia’s Minister for Industry, Science and Technology, Karen Andrews, said Australia has one of the most competitive mining, oil and gas industries in the world which will continue to boost its economy as it transforms.

“A vibrant and competitive resources sector is vital to Australia’s economic future and the adoption of Industry 4.0 technologies will be a key driver of industry transformation,” she said. “The use of analytics and robotics not only provides significant safety and environmental benefits, it is also rapidly increasing job opportunities.”

Andrews added: “This kind of technology opens up new, unexplored opportunities for the resources sector and what this report shows is the huge economic opportunity if new technology is embraced.”

The report was produced by METS Ignited and NERA, two industry growth centres established to drive innovation, productivity and competitiveness.

It comes shortly after a A$2 million Future Technology Project Fund was made available through NERA for projects that accelerate the commercialisation of science and technology, improve the uptake of innovative digital technologies, and encourage future investment, productivity and global trade, in the oil, gas and energy sector.

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.

METS Ignited backing analytics, automation and robotics technology developments

METS Ignited, an industry-led, Australia government-funded, growth centre for the mining equipment, technology and services (METS) sector, is making A$4 million ($2.8 million) available to companies focused on the application of analytics, automation and robotics in mining operations.

The investment is part of the fourth round of METS Ignited Collaborative Project Funds for METS solutions able to help demonstrate the productivity, competitiveness and innovative capacity of the sector in Australia.

METS Ignited Acting CEO, Ian Dover, said: “Australian METS companies have a long history of supplying reliable and innovative solutions to the mining sector. This round of funding is focused on accelerating the adoption of analytics, automation and robotics into Australian METS and mining with the objective of making a significant contribution to the economy and creating more jobs in our domestic mining supply chains.

“The time is now, for Australia to get ahead of the curve and make the most of our home-grown advantage.”

Round four of the Project Funds invites METS companies to collaborate with a minimum of two other METS companies and an end user, to deliver projects with real commercialisation potential, METS Ignited said.

Safescape, 3ME and Agrale’s Bortana electric vehicle ready for mine site trial

Safescape, 3ME Technology and Agrale are celebrating the launch of the new Bortana electric vehicle (EV), with the partners now preparing to dispatch a prototype for a three-month trial at a gold mine.

The launch, taking place at Mt Cotton Training Centre on May 24, followed a successful exhibition at the Austmine conference, in Brisbane, Australia, Safescape said.

The project, partly funded by Australia’s METS Ignited industry growth centre, has seen the three companies design a purpose-built battery electric utility vehicle for the mining industry that, METS Ignited says, offers a significant increase in sustainability and durability compared with the existing options.

The Bortana EV uses the chassis of a diesel-powered Agrale Marruá, electric technology from 3ME and Safescape’s design and engineering expertise.

3ME Technology CEO, Justin Bain, said a vehicle of this nature is needed in the Australian mining landscape.

“Vehicles used in underground Australian mining operations have faced issues of corrosion, durability and emissions for a long time – there is a sore need for a better solution.

“The BORTANA EV was developed for the harsh environments of Australian mine sites and we’re really excited to see this vehicle in action. We have focused on achieving the highest levels of safety and compliance whilst delivering superior performance and efficiency.”

The application of battery-electric vehicles in underground mining provides several key benefits over traditional diesel-powered engines, with the new vehicle producing minimal heat, minimal noise and, most importantly, no diesel particulate matter exposure for workers within confined spaces. “This also means reduced costs in ventilation and maintenance for mine operators,” METS Ignited said.

Supporting the Bortana EV during the launch was the Agrale Marruá with both a single- and dual-cab vehicle on display. This vehicle is traditionally used in the Brazil army and mining industry, with Safescape selecting the chassis due to its corrosion-resistant body and ability to withstand the harshest of conditions.

The vehicles are future-proofed; equipped for integration with current autonomous and future artificial intelligence developments, according to METS Ignited, which provided A$500,000 ($343,700) for the project under its Collaborative Project Funds, in 2018.

Following the three-month trial at the gold mine – which Bain previously confirmed to IM was Kirkland Lake Gold’s Fosterville operation in Victoria, Australia – the prototype will have further exposure to other mining companies and contractors, METS Ignited said.

“The trial will test the battery-electric vehicle’s ability to achieve mining duty cycles and provide superior drivability, safety, corrosion protection, reliability and maintainability in comparison with the current underground diesel light vehicle fleet,” Bain said back in January. “The EV will initially be integrated into the Fosterville fleet as a supervisor vehicle and undertake all tasks required by the diesel light utility vehicles. An operational risk assessment of the BORTANA EV has been conducted with Fosterville to ensure the vehicle will meet its mine site compliance requirements.”

METS Ignited General Manager Industry Engagement, Peter Clarke, said: “We are pleased to support 3ME Technology and Safescape in developing a great solution for Australian mining operations. The safety benefits and cost savings achieved by implementing these vehicles onsite will make a significant difference for miners.

“This is a great example of how funding and support for collaboration pays off for the sector.”

Safescape Managing Director, Steve Durkin, thinks the Bortana EV will offer the right mix of capability and longevity in the mining environment.

The lack of tail-pipe emissions, plus reduced heat generation are just some of the benefits underground mines are likely to realise with the use of the Bortana EV, he said.

“We believe that the Bortana EV will have a lower total cost of ownership than any other comparable production vehicle in the mining environment,” Durkin concluded.

Orway and Process IQ form JV focused on remote mineral processing consulting

Orway Mineral Consultants (OMC) and Process IQ say they have formed an incorporated joint venture, Orway IQ Pty Ltd, to deliver a remote optimisation consulting service for the mineral processing industry.

MillROC (Milling Remote Optimisation Consulting) will initially focus on comminution circuits, the partners said.

Headquartered in Western Australia, Orway IQ is led by Pieter Strobos (Chairman of the Board), Fred Kock (CEO), Brian Putland and Daniel Van Der Spuy (Executive Directors).

Process IQ, meanwhile, was among eight companies nationally to share in A$15.6 million ($10.6 million) of funding to support collaboration and innovation, and address mining equipment, technology and services (METS) sector priorities, as announced earlier this year.

Its project, which included Orway as one of three partners, was aimed at enabling grinding experts to interact directly and in real time with grinding circuits on remote mine sites to ensure they are operating at their most productive levels. “The project will develop automated artificial intelligence software to emulate the experts as there is very limited supply of this specialist expertise, leading to increased processing efficiency globally,” METS Ignited said.

The joint venture draws on Orway’s expertise in comminution design, modelling and optimisation and Process IQ’s expertise in the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT), cloud-based computing, process control, automation and instrumentation, the companies said. Together the companies claim to have served the mining industry for more than 50 years.

Orway IQ’s MillROC uses real-time data in online process models and communicates the findings to the client, according to the companies. The product is a cloud-based reporting of all plant data related to circuit performance and optimisation, available anytime, anywhere – via the internet. Orway IQ expert consultants review circuits from around the world daily from its operations centre in Perth.

Orway’s Strobos said: “The joint venture company is aligned with the METS Ignited initiative to assist with the growth and innovation of the business. Process IQ, OMC and now Orway IQ are at the forefront of the digital transformation in the mining industry, having been recognised for their ground-breaking work in this space.”

Strobos continued: “We are receiving tremendous support from both Federal and State government and our consulting service, MillROC, has been recognised as having huge implications as a new product category for the mining industry.”

Orway IQ has also been chosen to participate in the RISE Accelerator program supported by the Western Australia Government Department of Jobs, Tourism, Science and Innovation, The Queensland Government, NERA and METS Ignited – which is run by KPMG. The program has been developed to spearhead innovation into industry and equip METS companies with the skills, capabilities and support to develop their innovation and grow their businesses.

Anglo and emapper to rehabilitate Dawson open-pit coal mine

Anglo American says its Australian operations will invest more than A$162 million ($116 million) in mine rehabilitation projects over the next five years.

Chief Executive Officer of Anglo American’s Metallurgical Coal business, Tyler Mitchelson, said the company was committed to the highest standards of environmental performance.

“Over the next five years (2019 – 2023), we’re investing more than A$162 million on industry-leading rehabilitation activities across our five mine sites,” he said.

Anglo American’s Australian operations include five metallurgical coal mines in central Queensland; two open pit and three underground. Around A$83 million will be spent on rehabilitation at the open-pit Dawson mine, near Moura, and almost A$40 million at Capcoal open-pit mine, near Middlemount, over five years.

“We continue to innovate and pursue best practice mine rehabilitation across our business, and this approach is already delivering outstanding results,” Mitchelson said.

“Anglo American’s Dawson mine has been leading the way in innovative rehabilitation approaches, including the successful rehabilitation of an area previously containing void highwall, and use of rehabilitated land for cattle grazing.

“In partnership with emapper, other miners and industry suppliers, our Dawson mine has also been part of an innovative METS Ignited (the Federal Government Growth Centre for Mining Equipment, Technology and Services) project using drone technology to aerially map rehabilitation areas.

“Rehabilitated areas at our Dawson mine cover more than 1,800 ha so this project is a significant step forward in improving the safety, efficiency and accuracy of our mine rehabilitation monitoring programmes,” he said.

The project, delivered through environmental monitoring web-mapping platform, emapper, has used drone technology to collect environmental monitoring data including landform geometry, erosion and vegetation. All data is processed in the emapper platform against pre-determined rehabilitation performance standards, according to Anglo American Australia. All metrics are uploaded to the secure emapper platform allowing on-demand access to data visualisation, reporting and data collaboration and sharing, it said.

“A key part of Anglo American’s global Sustainable Mining Plan is to maintain a healthy environment – particularly in the local areas around our operations,” Mitchelson said.

“We’re committed to innovative and sustainable environmental practices, including rehabilitation, and our work in this area is a clear demonstration of this.”

The Emapper project, METS Ignited said, aims to develop a multi-scale and multi-source environmental data platform to monitor, manage and reduce mining’s footprint with application and transferability within the global mining industry.

The key focus of the solution is deriving maximum benefit from digital sensing technology, including integrated analysis of the data and functionality to enable technical and non-technical staff to use the platform for reporting and management decisions. In this way, the platform will accelerate the wider adoption of sensors and data analytics in the industry, METS Ignited said.

The project will result in cost reduction for environmental management and compliance for mining operations.

Robotics and automation projects among latest METS Ignited funding recipients

Australia’s Minister for Industry, Science and Technology, Karen Andrews, has announced seven mining supply businesses as the recipients of A$4.1 million ($2.9 million) in innovation funding under the METS Ignited Collaborative Project Funds.

The recipients of the funding will now be able to launch eight collaborative industry projects delivering highly-advanced solutions to a variety of mining challenges and contribute to the growth and capability of the METS sector, according to METS Ignited.

This funding is part of a four-year, A$15.6 million commitment made by the Australian Government to incentivise collaboration and address METS sector priorities. The funding established the METS Ignited Collaborative Project Funds, which support industry-led projects to improve the productivity, competitiveness and innovative capacity in the METS sector.

Today’s announcement at Mineral Technologies, on the Gold Coast of Australia, is the third tranche of funding. METS Ignited received 26 grant applications and has awarded the funds to businesses specialising largely in robotics and automation, data analytics, data platforms, Internet of Things and business and professional services. The recipients are: Mineral Technologies, Premron, Austmine, Roobuck, Process IQ, AMOG (x2) and Magotteaux.

Acting CEO of METS Ignited, Ian Dover, said: “Active collaboration across the ecosystem is core to accelerating commercialisation of innovation and has been lacking in the METS and mining sector, where historically relationships have been in the main transactional.”

“Facilitating such innovation is part of the mandate for METS Ignited. It’s vital we support the application of influential future technologies across the METS sector and maintain Australia’s competitiveness.”

Recipients of the Collaborative Project Funds are required to secure equal or greater investment from an industry partner. As a result, the total value of the eight projects is A$11 million.

The largest fund recipients were Queensland-based Mineral Technologies and Premron, awarded A$1 million each. Mineral Technologies’ automation of the Roy Hill Iron Ore beneficiation plant project automates the gravity separation spiral process used in the mine to optimise the concentration of lower-grade ore into higher value ore for export, METS Ignited said.

Roy Hill CEO, Barry Fitzgerald, said: “I am delighted the government is supporting our partnership with Mineral Technologies – a project that seeks to enhance the operational efficiency of our mine, delivering more high-grade product while reducing waste for the same operational cost.”

The automation of spiral control in the Roy Hill beneficiation plant will materially improve the concentration of ore into high value product for export, according to Roy Hill. More high-grade product and less waste will be produced for the same feed and processing cost, delivering value to both the environment and Roy Hill’s bottom line, the company said. Once proven effective at Roy Hill, the technology can be commercialised and rolled out at similar operations across the world.

“This innovation project will deliver a step-change improvement through real time control of our 720 spirals, enabling our processing plant to dynamically respond to the natural variability of the material it is treating,” Fitzgerald said.

Premron’s Continuous Haulage System (CHS) project, meanwhile, will revolutionise coal mining in underground mines, according to METS Ignited. It eliminates the use of shuttle cars, used to take the coal cut from the wall of the mine to a transfer point further away in the mine (dead time). CHS will see the coal go straight to a conveyor belt and out of the mine.

Other projects that received funding in this round include: sensor technology to monitor the location of people and equipment underground; artificial intelligence technology to emulate the role of a grinding expert; automated sensor detection for oversized rocks; a predictive analytics tool that pinpoints the best time for equipment descaling; a METS career pathway programme; and a device to give more detailed information on the chemistry inside the grinding mill while it is operating.

METS Ignited said: “Collectively, the projects will benefit the mining sector by optimising the value chain, increasing productivity for mining and mineral processing, supporting and enhancing environmental management, and improving operational safety.”

The project fund recipients include:

Automation of the Roy Hill Iron Ore beneficiation plant

  • Recipient: Mineral Technologies
  • Partners: Roy Hill
  • Collaborative project funds: A$1 million
  • Industry investment: A$1 million
  • This project automates the gravity separation spiral process used in the mine to optimise the concentration of lower-grade ore into higher value ore for export.

CHS

  • Recipient: Premron
  • Partners: Gauley Robertson Australia, Kestrel coal mine
  • Collaborative project funds: A$1 million
  • Industry investment: A$1.13 million
  • Continuous haulage will revolutionise coal mining in underground mines. It eliminates the use of shuttle cars, which are used to take the coal cut from the wall of the mine to a transfer point further away in the mine. CHS will see the coal go straight onto a conveyor belt and out of the mine.

Austmine METS career Pathway Program

  • Recipient: Austmine
  • Collaborative Project Funds: A$240,000
  • Industry investment: A$1.76 million
  • This project places university students as interns in METS companies around Australia, increasing the interest level and uptake of graduates into the METS sector

The OVERwatch Platform

  • Recipient: Roobuck
  • Partners: Redpine Signals, Northparkes Mines, University of Wollongong
  • Collaborative project funds: A$600,000
  • Industry investment: A$1.5 million
  • This project develops sensors and software to track the location of people and machinery working in underground mines and ensure that collisions are avoided. This is a complex project as there is limited communication options underground (eg no Wi-Fi).

Remote grinding optimisation and support centre

  • Recipient: ProcessIQ
  • Partners: Orway Mineral Consultants, Jamieson Consulting, Curtin University
  • Collaborative Project Funds: A$620,000
  • Industry investment: A$780,000
  • This project enables grinding experts to interact directly and in real time with grinding circuits on remote mine sites to ensure they are operating at their most productive levels. The project will develop automated artificial intelligence software to emulate the experts as there is very limited supply of this specialist expertise, leading to increased processing efficiency globally.

Automated Oversize Detection

  • Recipient: AMOG
  • Partners: Omniflex
  • Collaborative Project Funds: A$150,000
  • Industry investment: A$220,000
  • This project involves developing sensor equipment that alerts the mine when rocks are too big to process through the crushing and grinding equipment. Blockages in the crushing and grinding circuits are costly and time consuming. Haulage trucks with oversized rocks will be diverted to a separate location in the mine, which avoids stoppages.

Smooth Operator leach circuit process optimisation

  • Recipient: AMOG
  • Partners: Lithium Consultants
  • Collaborative Project Funds: A$220,000
  • Industry investment: A$220,000
  • This project involves developing a predictive analytics tool that allows copper and nickel mines to pinpoint when they should close equipment for descaling. Closing equipment too late or early is very costly. There is a very large global market for this product.

Commercialisation of pulp chemistry monitor for the mining industry

  • Recipient: Magotteaux
  • Partners: Hydrix, Manta Controls, Newcrest Mining
  • Collaborative Project Funds: A$250,000
  • Industry investment: A$310,000
  • This project involves developing a device to give more detailed information on the chemistry inside the grinding mill while it is operating. Grinding and flotation circuits use many chemical inputs in order to extract minerals from the ore. Getting the chemical balance right in the mill and the next stage of floatation is critical to removing as much of the valuable mineral as possible. The percentages of the yield vary between 85% and 95% and a 1% improvement in yield will deliver a very large financial benefit to the mine.

Energetique Mining Vehicles changes name and focus to 3ME

Energetique Mining Vehicles (EMV) has changed its name to 3ME Technology as it looks to revise its battery-electric vehicle focus on, specifically, the mining, military and marine markets.

EMV came out of Energetique, a group based in New South Wales, Australia, which has been developing battery electric vehicle systems in Australia for over a decade.

3ME will be the company’s single market-facing brand and represent the preceding Energetique Group of Companies, the company said.

The change represents several developments, with three key ones being:

  • The revised focus on mining, military and marine applications (the ‘3M’ in 3ME);
  • 3ME’s role as a technology provider as opposed to an electric vehicle original equipment manufacturer. The company said: “3ME’s focus is predominately around the provision of customised battery modules and as a battery electric vehicle systems ‘integrator’”, and;
  • The company’s progression into production as Energetique’s technology commercialises after over a decade of successful research and development projects. “The E in 3ME represents the history of Energetique,” 3ME said.

3ME Technology has several projects in progress, including the EVmine project, which is focused on providing a conversion of two common underground mining platforms from diesel to battery electric with the addition of innovative safety and connectivity features.

EVmine is a joint project with Safescape and Aeris Resources and is focused on developing the BORTANA EV utility vehicle (pictured, Credit: Safescape) and TRITTON EV Integrated Tool-Carrier/Loader. It is supported by the Australian Government’s METS Ignited Project Fund.

Queensland METS companies receive government funding

The Australian Government has poured more cash into mining equipment, technology and services (METS) companies, this time choosing four firms in Queensland looking to solve challenges.

The funds, issued by METS Ignited, form part of the Bowen Basin Cluster Programme, a joint initiative with the Queensland Government that brings together METS companies in the region with complementary areas of expertise.

The recipients for the pilot programme are MyneSight, Active Adrenalin, Split Spaces, and Macdonald Cordell/Aurecon. Each of these has been awarded initial funding from METS Ignited, matched by industry partners, bringing the total programme value to almost $1.5 million.

“The projects funded by the initiative will help develop solutions for conveyor belt spillage and its associated issues; access to the costly practice of rapid prototyping; training for new underground mining operators; and health and safety improvements – collectively delivering increased value to Australia’s mining operations,” METS Ignited said.

The second phase of the programme, funded by the Queensland Government, will see the appointment of a cluster development manager, who will provide long-term support for facilitation and growth of the Bowen Basin businesses throughout the lifetime of their projects.

MyneSight, so far, has the biggest project value at A$785,000. It is looking to develop and establish a combined training and research simulated underground mine in Mackay (pictured here: Senator Michaelia Cash in the simulated underground mine). This will be a pilot for the future Australian Training and Research Underground Mining Simulator.

Active Adrenalin comes next with A$312,400 of funding. It and Nutricula Psychology have collaborated to establish a scientific and innovative approach to worker wellness in the resource sector.

Both Macdonald Cordell/Aurecon and Split Spaces have banked A$200,000 each. The former is a “pathway for commercialisation of a spray-on product for conveyor belts that reduces carry-back”, while the latter is “making rapid prototyping of mining and engineering solutions more accessible, by reducing cost through collaboration in the Bowen Basin region”.

The Australian METS sector generates A$86 billion in gross value add to the national economy and supports 500,000 jobs. In Queensland, the sector is worth an annual A$7 billion to the economy and could provide up to 3,000 jobs over the next decade, according to METS Ignited.

Earlier this month, eight other METS firms were awarded cash for their own projects.