In the final instalment on a series on technology in mining, Alison Birrane talks to a company that says it is bridging the issue of inter-operability between different mining software packages.
PERTH-BASED mining technology company Fractal Technologies has developed a niche in the competitive mining technology industry by bringing data from various systems into one consolidated interface.
The software, called FracSIS, is designed for use by all mining professions (for example, geologists, engineers and geoscientists) and across a range of mining software packages including mine planning, modelling, exploration, GIS, data processing and database packages.
The company evolved from Fractal Graphics, a geo-scientific consultancy established by Nick and Jenny Archibald in 1992.
Ms Archibald is managing director and has a background as a geologist. She also was a Fremantle City councillor and served as mayor for three years.
In early 2002 Fractal Graphics was split into two companies – Fractal Technologies (the software development group) and Fractal Geoscience (the geological consulting group).
In July of the same year Fractal Geoscience merged with Canadian-based exploration company St And-rew Goldfields to form a new exploration company, Geoinformatics Exploration Pty Ltd.
Ms Archibald said Fractal produced data management and 3D visualisation software and services to the geoscience industry.
The company’s flagship product is called FracSIS, which allows the user to access most existing mining applications through a single integrated interface.
Starting out with a small research and development team, the company now employs 17 staff.
The product has been available for 12 months in a database form and the current version was released in March, Ms Archibald said.
Fractal also had established good contact with overseas resellers but it was difficult to discuss the company’s growth because it was so young, she said.
However, Ms Archibald said the company has grown and increased sales with more than 100 clients in the mining industry, some of them major players.
“We are having considerable success in getting the product out and are experiencing growth in sales,” she told WA Business News.
Of those sales, exports account for 65 per cent.
Ms Archibald said the company employed a straight-forward pricing model and maintained an Australian dollar price in all markets throughout the world.
“We are still investing very strongly in research and development, which is very important to the business,” she said.
Ms Archibald describes FracSIS, which stands for Fractal Technologies Spatial Information System, as an enabling technology that allowed every person in an organisation to access all spatial data, regardless of the underlying format.
FracSIS was developed to address the issues associated with the lack of inter-operability between existing mining packages that specialise in processing spatial data.
It is deployed over a network with components run on a dedicated server. The user then accesses the program on the client machine as required.
“We have written an importing package that brings all software formats together into one object-based database that is a multi-user database,” Ms Archibald said.
“You get all the data in and then you don’t miss anything. It means that you have a complete validated data set.
“To find new ore deposits is getting harder and harder, so we need to get smarter and smarter.”
Ms Archibald said FracSIS was applicable to industries other than mining.
She said that future directions for Fractal Technologies included increasing global deployment of the software and diversification into non-geoscientific markets.