27/07/2004 - 22:00

Micromine sees big picture

27/07/2004 - 22:00

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Mining software firm Micromine expects to grow its business by 50 per cent on the back of a new software package that has won backing from the Federal Government.

Micromine sees big picture

Mining software firm Micromine expects to grow its business by 50 per cent on the back of a new software package that has won backing from the Federal Government.

The Government has awarded Micromine a $2.63 million R&D Start grant to support the development of its Dome software, which stands for ‘dynamic optimal mineral extraction’.

The privately-owned company will invest dollar-for-dollar in the project, which is designed to create a single database package capable of handling the entire operations of mining companies.

Micromine general manager Michael Wingham said the new product would provide a company-wide solution, and was unlike any product currently in the market.

“We have the client base and the credibility and the knowledge to make this a success,” he said.

Mr Wingham said Micromine would keep the software development in Australia, unlike some of its competitors, and was planning to hire up to eight people to work on the Dome project.

“Outsourcing sounds good in theory but it doesn’t work with software development.”

The company was founded in 1987 when Graeme Tudor, who remains the sole shareholder, launched its Micromine software for the exploration sector.

Mr Wingham said the focus over the past five years had been on developing new products to cover the mining industry value chain, from exploration to mine design, production and processing.

This includes its Minrem software for mineral resource management, which also won Government backing in the form of a $1.6 million Start grant.

As well as developing new software products, the company has moved into new markets, including South Africa, China and Russia, and is about to open an office in Denver in the US.

Mr Wingham said the company had doubled revenue since 2000 while staff numbers had grown to 60 presently and were projected to reach up to 90 in two to three years when the Dome product is launched.

Its current client base includes major mining companies such as Barrick, Newmont, Placer Dome, BHP Billiton and Xstrata.

The Dome product is designed to apply across all commodities, giving Minmet the potential to further widen its client base.

Mr Wingham praised the role of Federal government agency Ausindustry in assisting Micromine to obtain the Start funding.

“Don’t be afraid of the process. The dollars are out there and they are looking to help,” Mr Wingham said.

He said the process took nine months, from developing the idea to awarding of the grant.

The key criteria for winning Government support included the degree of innovation, the level of risk, the boost to employment and the intention to increase exports.

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