PERTH-BASED GMA Garnet Pty Ltd is the sole Western Australian recipient of an Australian Export Award this year, having won the ‘minerals and energy’ category, sponsored by the Minerals Council of Australia, at last week’s awards ceremony. GMA Garnet, which manufactures a blast cleaning and waterjet cutting abrasive, was the only WA winner to also win a national prize, ahead of other state finalists including Custom Vis, Risktec Australasia and ThinkSmart Ltd. Rio Tinto Iron Ore, along with Brisbane-based mining services company Ausenco, was inducted into the award program’s hall of fame, which recognises companies that have won their export category three times. Hearing solutions company Cochlear Ltd won the overall prize for exporter of the year. Austrade chief executive officer Peter O’Byrne said in a statement that the award recipients reflected the increasing diversity of Australian exporters. “Last financial year, Australian businesses generated a record $215 billion in export earnings for the country. (The) finalists in these awards generated $11.6 billion in export sales last year and directly employed more than 38,500 people,” he said. The Australian Export Awards are in their 45th year.