Tag Archives: METS Ignited

GeoMoby to accelerate rollout of location intelligence platform with new funds

Mining location technology company GeoMoby has secured A$3 million ($2.03 million) to fund the further rollout of its technology to the global mining industry.

The money will be allocated towards expanding its sales and business development team, as well as adding to a strong team of staff focused on technology development.

The funds have been largely sourced from multiple European investors, GeoMoby said. The capital raise was also supported by existing shareholders as well as a strategic GeoMoby partner – Agreement Hub – and a grant from METS Ignited.

GeoMoby – the name of the company and product – uses wireless, cable-free and reusable beacons to geofence sites, track assets and check on workforces, providing a layer of safety and efficiency never seen before, the company says. The technology allows surface-to-underground communication through smart devices, meaning, for the first time, photographs and video can be sent to the surface from remote tunnels in deep underground sites.

GeoMoby is targeting long-term contracts with Western Australian-based underground mining companies, but its technology can also be applied to surface mining operations and construction sites in Australia and globally, it says.

And, through its strategic partner agreement hub, it is also working with several mining and renewables companies to use the location intelligence technology to protect cultural heritage sites.

Founder and CEO, Chris Baudia, said: “Australian mining companies want to keep their workers – often in remote areas – safe, and this technology is the best, most reliable way to do that right now in the world. This latest funding now enables us to provide Australian miners with a gold standard location service and we are working hard to educate the mining sector about our cost-effective technology.

“We are now Australia’s most advanced location intelligence platform with a specialisation in live tracking and geofencing technologies for the mining and construction industries. We provide a 360° view platform that helps our clients to visualise their assets – trucks, light vehicles, machines – and the most important one, people. This is done in real-time whether it be in a multi-storey building, a remote area or even deep down an underground tunnel.”

Agreement Hub’s Managing Director, Kellie Swanson-Hill, said: “We are really excited to be partnering with GeoMoby to introduce its location intelligence technology to the mining industry in relation to cultural heritage protection. We are calling this application Protect. We are working with companies across the industry, from big iron ore to juniors, to make Protect the new best practice in cultural heritage protection.”

MyPass to help BHP keep track of contractor workforce across the globe

MyPass Global says it has been awarded a contract by BHP to power its Global Contractor System and worker Skills Passport, with the software set to connect safety-critical data related to contractor on-boarding, mobilisation and management.

MyPass will be an enterprise-wide central record for BHP’s service contractor workforce, according to the company.

The Global Contractor System will provide BHP with new risk controls, reporting tools and improved data, including competency and conduct, according to MyPass.

BHP contractors will use a digital Skills Passport to manage compliance information. This way, contractors will be assigned a unique identification number that will follow them across all future BHP engagements, it added.

This month Nickel West (one of its open-pit mines, pictured) became the first BHP asset to adopt MyPass, due to be followed by Spence mine in Chile in January 2023. This will lead the way for a global rollout across the 2023 to 2025 financial years.

Matt Smith, Chief Executive Officer at MyPass Global, said: “This endorsement creates an even stronger incentive for other companies to join the ecosystem to simplify, standardise and share. The contract also demonstrates we can do more onshore in Australia, implementing our homegrown technology to benefit multiple industry sectors.

“We acknowledge this commitment to support Australia’s mining equipment, technology and services (METS) sector, and METS Ignited for their grant funding program that is supporting this roll-out as part of our ongoing commercialisation goals.”

MyPass Global is a digital workforce management system designed to streamline safety and compliance in highly regulated industries. Founded in 2013, MyPass says it addresses a universal problem – workforce compliance tracking – by connecting workers, employers, sites and training providers in one central, cloud-based portal. MyPass is creating a global worker credentialing platform designed to save time and reduce risk in the workplace.

METS Ignited and the Queensland Government launch enviroMETS

Queensland mining companies can now tap into the collaborative innovation of experienced organisations to deliver maximum value and enhanced future uses of post-mining land with the launch of industry-led, not-for-profit enviroMETS.

Aimed at devising innovative and sustainable repurposing, recommercialising and remediation solutions to create the greatest value for future custodians, enviroMETS is a joint METS Ignited and Queensland Government partnership that, the partners say, will provide a conduit of innovative industry-led solutions for government and mining companies.

This cluster initiative will deploy skills, research and experience in:

  • Mine lifecycle planning;
  • Geochemical and mine affected water management;
  • Mine waste reprocessing;
  • Geotechnical and tailings storage facilities;
  • Mine closure management; and
  • Governance/policy/regulatory framework.

enviroMETS will enable commercial collaborations to research and deploy new technologies such as reprocessing mine waste for essential mineral extraction or repurposing the landform for another commercial use, the partners say.

METS Ignited CEO, Adrian Beer, said enviroMETS builds upon the early clustering work of METS Ignited, in partnership with the Queensland Government.

“In reviewing our progress, it was clear multiple groups would benefit from the support of a dedicated organisation engaged in project coordination and lead collaboration management,” Beer said.

“SME vendors, research and academia, government and state-owned entities, as well as mining, METS organisations and investors, could all leverage a trusted independent broker representing enviroMETS groups.”

enviroMETS Executive Director, Allan Morton, explained that it was important to understand enviroMETS is a completely independent, industry-led, not-for-profit company, forming innovative collaborations to solve industry wide challenges.

“We are initiating several ‘lighthouse’ projects within our innovation ecosystem participants to accelerate this process,” Morton said. “This authenticates the objective and collaborative nature we offer, which I believe will deliver a unique set of unparalleled benefits to our participant groups, the environment and future custodians of these parcels of land.”

IMARC 2022 to tackle the mining sector’s gender divide

Closing the gender gap in mining is not only a matter of equity, it also makes business sense, according to five Australian experts who will be addressing the International Mining and Resources Conference (IMARC) in Sydney in November.

As a whole, the mining industry is trying to address the under-representation of women in mining. Statistics highlighted by WIMnet (Women in Mining) NSW shows that women make up less than 20% of the mining workforce. Unfortunately, at an executive level it gets worse, with 6.7% of mining CEOs being female, compared with the national average of 19.4%.

IMARC organises say it will shine a light on the incredible contribution women bring to the mining industry, hosting a three-day event that will feature 111 female speakers.

Reflecting on the gender transformation sweeping the industry, Chair of WIMnet NSW, Lucy McClean, believes opening the door to more women represents an enormous opportunity for the industry to capitialise on the proven benefits of a diverse and inclusive workforce.

“The statistics are very clear, and they tell us that workplace diversity creates more inclusive supporting work environments, enhances teamwork, makes us more effective in service delivery as well as increasing productivity,” she says.

MinterEllison Partner and Head of Perth’s Workplace Law team, Kathy Reid, says: “We need to increase the presence of women in mining, but the industry is facing significant challenges and there’s not one easy answer. Improving mining for women will require significant and consistent cultural shifts across the industry but getting there will be difficult.”

Reid refers to this issue as the chicken and the egg conundrum: “You can’t really make women feel more comfortable in the mining industry until you’ve got greater numbers, but you can’t get greater numbers unless you make them feel more comfortable.”

METS Ignited General Manager, Kylah Morrison, agrees some great strides have been made to make mining more appealing to women, highlighting the power of leveraging tech and innovation.

“Equipment manufacturers are leading the way by breaking down barriers to entry, from simple things like hi-vis gear that is made for women, to major capital investments in heavy equipment,” she said. “Rather than the traditional burly bloke on the frontline, maybe it’s a remotely managed machine, which adds even more to the potential inclusiveness of mining.”

“Inclusivity is important, and that’s where innovation and technology is really exciting because it does make it more of an even playing field.”

AusIMM Independent Consultant, Giulia Savio, says it is clear the mining industry recognises the need to make the workplace more inviting for women, not just by moving away from a “male-only” culture, but by using innovation to create new opportunities in rewarding, highly paid and long-term careers.

However, Savio says the trend within the industry is positive, and applauds the fact that IMARC 2022 is taking a strong focus on the development of female leadership in the sector, and will feature record numbers of female delegates, speakers and panellists.

“We’re not there yet,” she says. “To have true diversity and to realise the value of that diversity, you need inclusivity. In order to improve the industry, leaders need to look at making the sector more friendly and inviting for all. This might mean greater diversity in teams, equipment that can be used by someone with a disability, or more opportunities for flexibility in office based or site-based roles.”

Agnico Eagle Vice President of Corporate Affairs in Australia, John Landmark, echoes this sentiment, outlining the need to tap into a far broader spectrum of talent to shift the idea of the industry being male dominated to being an industry that is in touch with society’s expectations.

“We’ve got to change this, and we’ve got to get this right,” Landmark said. “We must make the workplace more attractive for women and society as a whole.

“I am so excited that these challenges are such a major focus at IMARC and gives us an opportunity to improve the industry for everyone. The ideal workplace is where everyone can be themselves and contribute to the team environment – people of all diverse backgrounds and makeups.

“Frankly, if you make the industry more attractive to women, you improve the industry for all.”

IMARC, organisers say, is the most significant in-person gathering of Australian and international mining and resources representatives in almost three years and is a key forum to addressing the most challenging issues facing the industry. The conference will be held November 2-4 at the Sydney International Convention Centre and will feature over 450 speakers across six concurrent conferences covering the energy transition, rising costs, skills shortages, diversity within the resources sector and more.

International Mining is a media sponsor of IMARC 2022

Zero Automotive overcoming barriers with BEV conversion offering

Zero Automotive is one of several Australia-based companies looking to supply the clean and green light utility vehicles the domestic hard-rock sector requires over the next decades to achieve crucial sustainability goals while retaining high productivity levels.

Thanks to the support of a significant copper-gold miner in Australia, its membership of the Electric Mine Consortium (EMC) and METS Ignited backing, the company finds itself in a strong position to deliver these machines against a backdrop of supply chain issues and ever-evolving safety and regulatory requirements.

“We’ve got commitments for six machines altogether and are in the process of offering our production version to the market,” Dan Taylor, Business Development Manager for Zero Automotive, says.

The first and second units are already running at OZ Minerals’ Carrapateena copper-gold mine in South Australia – Zero Automotive’s home state.

The first machine – a ZED70 Ti™ battery-electric light vehicle – was originally delivered to the mine at the back end of 2020 for testing. After successful trials, the company acquired this unit outright and, in early-2022, added a second Zero Automotive ZED70 Ti to enable its workforce to familiarise themselves with the capabilities and charging methodology that come with electric light utility vehicles.

Since then, the company has delivered a third ZED70 Ti conversion to Barminco, which is now on site at its client IGO Ltd’s Nova nickel-copper-cobalt operation in Western Australia. This vehicle is the first single cab conversion developed by Zero Automotive and will be deployed to site foremen to allow the mining contractor to gain a good understanding of its capabilities.

All three of these machines – and the three to follow – are based off battery-electric conversions of the Toyota LandCruiser 79 Series, a vehicle that has been part of the Australian mining landscape for many years.

The modular nature of the Zero Automotive platform enables its long-life battery energy system to be reused in multiple chassis, lowering the total lifecycle cost of the fleet as well as the cost of Scope 1 emissions, according to the company.

They also include dual AC-DC charging with the CCS Combo2 connection, which is becoming increasingly standardised in the mining space.

Data and feedback from the second OZ Minerals machine and the initial Barminco vehicle will be fed back into the EMC ecosystem under the Light and Auxiliary Equipment Working Group as part of the consortium’s continual improvement and knowledge sharing remit.

The EMC said of the consortium’s ongoing light and auxiliary equipment electrification ambitions: “Converting light and auxiliary vehicles as rapidly as possible to electric is key to the industry building the broader understanding and familiarity with electric equipment and infrastructure that will accelerate adoption across all aspects of operations.”

The EMC is a growing group of over 20 mining and service companies driven by the imperative to produce zero-emission products for their customers and meet mounting investor expectations. The objective of the EMC, backed by METS Ignited, is to accelerate progress toward the zero-carbon and zero-particulate mine.

The following three machines are also expected to be deployed to EMC members, with METS Ignited agreeing to provide some A$400,000 ($297,938) of funding towards the diesel-to-battery conversion projects outside of the vehicles already delivered to OZ Minerals.

“The key thing with all of these vehicle deployments is the ZED70 Ti being able to do the job the miners need to perform safely and reliably, getting the associated charging infrastructure right and working with key stakeholders on the change management process,” Dave Mitchell, founder and CEO of Zero Automotive, says. “Operators also need to get used to the power under the hood and how to maximise the battery re-charging capabilities when going down ramp.

“As a matter of course, we train up and educate the sites about the best way to utilise these vehicles,” he said.

To this point, the two prototype vehicles already operating out at Carrapateena have shown that they can work for a typical shift without requiring a re-charge and can then utilise the battery’s AC/DC-DC fast-charge option during shift changeover to enable another user to run the machine for the following shift.

The use of LTO (Lithium Titanate Oxide) battery chemistry and a 60-kWh battery capacity has been behind this performance. This electric motor can generate continuous power of 75 kW and peak power of 134 kW, plus 358 Nm of continuous torque. These values will be increased to 100 kW, 200 kW and 520 Nm (1,200 Nm peak) for the production version.

To this point, the power dimension has often been the main metric quoted with any battery-electric machine, but Taylor pointed out that safety and regulatory considerations were often the biggest barriers to overcome in terms of getting machines operating at underground mines – a hurdle that Zero Automotive has cleared.

“We were able to successfully commission our second ZED70 Ti for OZ Minerals within two days of the machine arriving on site,” he said. “A lot of people are putting out offerings for light utility vehicles, but the required risk analysis in terms of deploying a vehicle underground has not been successfully worked through. This is rightfully a high bar to clear.

“We address any safety or regulatory considerations during our design process – not when the machine is on site – to make sure that operators can start using them quickly.”

Mitchell adds: “The user case is what we are focused on. That has allowed us to scale our offering quickly and ensure our clients can start running the machine underground as soon as they have it on site.”

Zero Automotive is expecting to deploy the other three machines on its books to the same companies (OZ Minerals and Barminco), but the final two machines of the six to be delivered will be under a revised platform to the original ZED70 Ti.

“It will be a platform that is designed from the ground up that incorporates the desired features and learnings from the first conversions, but we will simplify it to reduce complexity, weight and cost,” Mitchell said. “We’re sticking with the same battery configuration – which has proven itself in terms of power, safety and longevity – but we’re adding some auxiliary power outputs and ensuring the machine is multi-purpose.”

The latter element is tied to the company’s medium-to-long-term ambitions, which include the potential to supply battery-electric machines specific to the extended range space too.

For now, Zero Automotive is focused on getting its machines underground at hard-rock operations, ensuring operators and mining companies start realising the productivity and emission benefits that come with these zero-emission conversions.

Omniflex, AMOG Consulting win METS Ignited funding for oversize detection tech

Remote monitoring specialist Omniflex and engineering firm AMOG Consulting have received new funding from industry growth centre METS Ignited that will could accelerate the commercialisation of the companies’ Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) oversize detection instrumentation for the global mining industry.

The award is part of a METS Ignited A$2.5 million ($1.8 million) funding initiative that also saw Safescape, ZERO Automotive, MyPass Global, Universal Field Robots and 3ME Technology awarded funding.

“Mines often operate by blasting mine and pit faces with explosives, producing rubble of various shapes and sizes, from small pebbles to metre-wide boulders,” Omniflex said. “This is then loaded onto large haul trucks and transported to an ore crusher. When oversized rubble reaches the crusher, it can block and damage it, halting production while blockages are removed, or parts are replaced.”

Omniflex and AMOG have collaboratively developed IIoT instrumentation to boost oversize detection capabilities for the global mining industry. The system uses sensors to detect the size of ore rubble as it is loaded into haul trucks to be carried from the blast site to the crushing plant, Omniflex explained. This information is wirelessly communicated in real time to the driver, mine operations and/or remote data storage for later analysis.

David Celine, Managing Director of Omniflex, said: “The sensors, designed jointly by AMOG and Omniflex, detect signals onboard the truck as ore is dumped into the tray. The data is processed using machine-learning techniques to estimate the size of the rocks as they are dumped into the truck. This information is then communicated wirelessly through a gateway on the haul truck to the driver and to mine operations to notify them of the oversize ore load before the truck departs after being loaded.

“The technology has demonstrated a detection accuracy of above 80%, which is a vast improvement on common detection methods that are estimated to be less than 5% accurate. Notably, the technology does not rely on visual detection or cameras and so works in almost all conditions. It is also simple to retrofit and is expandable to numerous other high value applications.”

The initial technology creation was possible thanks to METS Ignited Collaborative Project funds. Based on the success of the first pilot projects, this new project aims to accelerate the scaling up of the business to meet global industry demand. This includes expanding production, testing capabilities, certification, enabling rapid adoption of this innovative digital technology.

In six years of operation as a government-funded industry growth centre, METS Ignited has invested more than A$13 million in 26 projects, with over 60 industry participants.

METS Ignited funding to speed up Safescape Bortana EV production goals

The latest round of METS Ignited project funding has seen Safescape become one of six METS companies to receive a grant designed to accelerate commercialisation of its technology.

The funding will support the continued development of the Bortana electric light vehicle, helping Safescape move from BETA test phase to full production in late 2022, according to Steve Durkin, Founder and Managing Director of Safescape.

ZERO Automotive, MyPass Global, AMOG, Universal Field Robots and 3ME Technology were the other recipients of the A$2.5 million ($1.9 million) of matched funding.

In six years of operation, METS Ignited has invested more than A$13 million in 26 projects, with over 60 industry participants, according to Safescape.

“METS Ignited have been a strong supporter of decarbonisation in the mining industry and a great supporter of the Bortana EV,” Durkin said. “From the beginning, they have offered support through advice, networking, exposure, and direct financial contributions.”

The latest round of project funding is focused on scaling commercialisation, with the six companies selected having delivered successful industry pilots and having a dedicated focus on innovation.

Safescape is currently preparing a fleet of 10 BETA phase test Bortana EVs, which will be delivered to mine sites across the country. Serial production will commence in 2023.

The Bortana EV is a battery-electric vehicle designed to handle the aggressive operating environment of underground mines. Designed and developed in Australia, the Bortana EV uses the chassis of a diesel-powered Agrale Marruá, electric technology from 3ME and Safescape’s design and engineering expertise. It is designed to tackle safety and health concerns by reducing emissions, heat, and maintenance.

Safescape is establishing facilities to support 10 vehicles per month initially with plans for maximum production capacity above 100 vehicles per month to support both Australian and export markets.

METS Ignited funding to accelerate Zero Automotive Land Cruiser battery-electric conversion plans

METS Ignited, an industry-led, Australian government-funded Industry Growth Centre for the mining equipment, technology and services (METS) sector, has invested A$400,000 ($297,938) in a collaborative project to accelerate Zero Automotive’s light duty electric vehicle solution in the open pit and underground mining market.

The ZED70 Ti™ mobile energy platform enables the rapid conversion of Series 79 Land Cruisers into battery electric solutions; that are certified Australian road ready and extremely safe underground, Zero Automotive says. Converted Land Cruisers release no harmful diesel particulates or carbon emissions and have an enhanced driver experience, according to the company.

The modular nature of the platform enables its long-life battery energy system to be reused in multiple chassis’, lowering the total lifecycle cost of the fleet as well as the cost of scope 1 emissions.

Zero Automotive’s solution is the result of a three-and-a-half year phased design and development program to develop and prove the clean technology in the field.

Zero Automotive Managing Director, Dave Mitchell, says the collaborative investment further validates the customer value proposition and enables the company to accelerate its growth plans.

“We recognise that Toyota Landcruisers are familiar and currently the brand of choice for miners,” he said. “These funds will be used to progress our go-to-market strategy; delivering five more converted Land Cruisers for user trial by Electric Mine Consortium members and enhancing our production capability for scale.

“We would like to thank Adrian (Beer) and his team at METS Ignited for their ongoing support and congratulate other successful industry participants.”

METS Ignited CEO, Adrian Beer, said the resources sector is transforming to meet society’s demand for minerals obtained in a sustainable manner.

“We are delighted to see this overwhelming demand for Australian innovation,” he said. “This round of investment includes technology that delivers safety, autonomy and low emissions technology. METS Ignited continues to invest in Australia’s future.

“By commercialising our home-grown innovation through Australian technology vendors, we increase market access to our innovative capability, making Australia an attractive market for further technology investment. These projects demonstrate the importance of resources technology and critical mineral processing for the Australian economy.”

IMDEX sets BLASTDOG drill and blast tech on commercial course

IMDEX has announced what it says is a “major milestone” for its BLASTDOG™ drill and blast technology.

IMDEX BLASTDOG is a semi-autonomously deployed system for logging material properties and blasthole characteristics at high spatial density across the bench and mine and is commodity agnostic, according to the company. It has been developed in collaboration with Universal Field Robots and tested at mines in Queensland, Western Australia, Chile and Nevada (USA).

At an industry event today, IMDEX said BLASTDOG would move from engineering development to commercial prototype by the end of the year.

Progress was outlined to representatives from development partners from METS Ignited, as well as other mining sector executives.

IMDEX said there is already strong industry interest in BLASTDOG because of its capacity to deliver reliable, real-time data that will enable critical mine planning decisions to be made earlier, introducing greater efficiencies throughout the mining value chain.

IMDEX Chief Executive Officer, Paul House, said no other technology had the capacity to produce the same data and provide as large an impact on downstream processes, including enhancing productivity.

“It has the capacity to improve productivity, efficiency, and safety and is part of IMDEX’s internet of geosensing initiative, and will significantly increase mine to mill efficiency,” House said. “Moving to a commercial prototype is a significant development. We will work with prospective clients to ensure that when it is released IMDEX BLASTDOG will deliver the results, efficiencies, and safety that will be its trademark.”

Among the benefits of IMDEX BLASTDOG outlined by the company are the ability to:

  • Improve fragmentation;
  • Improve material and grade control;
  • Reduce geotechnical risk;
  • Reduce adverse vibrations;
  • Define ore boundaries and prevent ore waste;
  • Indicate reactive ground; and
  • Reduce fume, fly rock and vibration

Australia’s IMARC mining event rescheduled to January 2022

Due to ongoing travel and gathering restrictions, and the rise of COVID-19 infections around Australia, Beacon Events, the organisers of the International Mining and Resources Conference (IMARC), has today announced its decision to reschedule the 2021 edition.

IMARC 2021 will move to the new dates of January 31-February 2, 2022, with the hybrid event taking place in-person at the Melbourne Showgrounds, and online for those that cannot attend in-person.

IMARC Managing Director, Anita Richards, said that while it is disappointing that the event has had to be postponed from 2021, it is the responsible action to take under the circumstances as the health and safety of IMARC’s participants is our number one priority.

“The rescheduling comes after much deliberation with our founding partners, and in consultation with our sponsors, exhibitors, supporters and various Victorian Government agencies who have been very supportive of the decision,” she said.

Victorian Government’s Head of Resources, Department of Jobs, Precincts and Regions, John Krbaleski, added: “IMARC is a home-grown industry event that has become a major international resources conference. There is significant interest in IMARC and it’s clear that industry is keen to see it go ahead in January 2022.”

Austmine CEO, Christine Gibbs Stewart, said: “Considering the health and safety of our members, delegates, and staff members, we support postponing IMARC 2021 until January 2022. We know how important this event is to our members who are exhibiting and attending, as well as the METS sector overall, and we encourage everyone to consider this as an opportunity to refocus your efforts and support the event in 2022.”

AusIMM CEO, Stephen Durkin, added: “We’re looking forward to reconnecting with our mining community at IMARC in January 2022. The rescheduled event will provide an opportunity for delegates to network with leaders and experts from across the sector and take part in thought-provoking conversations about the future of our industry.”

BHP, MMG, Newcrest, Mitsui, OceanaGold and Kirkland Lake Gold have all confirmed their continued support for IMARC in January 2022, with their executive leadership teams confirmed to speak within the conference program, Beacon Events said.

In addition to the Federal Minister for Resources, the Hon Keith Pitt, and major sponsors METS Ignited, Caterpillar, ABB and World Gold Council who have also confirmed their support and participation.

IMARC 2021’s new dates are aligned with the expected easing of restrictions from all states across Australia, allowing for strong domestic representation, according to Beacon Events.

Richards said: “Holding IMARC at the start of 2022 helps create a unique opportunity for the industry to kick off the year with new conversations, develop existing relationships and create business opportunities for the coming year. With better weather comes opportunities for outdoor events and networking, alongside some major events at that time of year here in Melbourne.”

There is an expectation that when IMARC returns in 2022, from October 17-19, there will be greater international travel freedoms, allowing for the conference to attract a large domestic and international audience in-person once again, Beacon Events said.

International Mining is a media sponsor of IMARC