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Mining for tech talent

SERVICING the giants of the resources industry is big business for many WA-based companies and mining technology is no exception, with some well-known mining technology companies winning industry and export awards and lucrative contracts.

WA-based companies are responsible for advances in a range of products used by the mining industry, including 3D visualisations for use in open pit mining or mining exploration, geographic information systems technology, satellite communications systems, simulation and training technology and hands-free or wireless devices.

Q-MAC Electronics Pty Ltd, based at Herdsman Industrial Park, develops a range of communication devices used in the mining and other industries including the military, construction, humanitarian-aid organisations and emergency services.

Local Perth firm Comdek recently undertook capital raising with the funds proposed for use in the extension of its satellite communications business, which provides voice and high-speed data services including telephony, facsimile, EFTPOS, email, Internet and network services to remote sites such as resource companies and regional communities.

The company already boasts leading resource companies Sons of Gwalia, Fluor, MacMahon and BHP Billiton as satellite communications clients.

Immersive Technology, a Perth-based developer of simulator training technology for mining, recently announced it had produced the world’s first commercial dozer simulator for training operators – adding to its existing list of simulator training products for heavy equipment used in the mining and other industries.

Perth mining and exploration company Surpac Minex Group develops leading mining and exploration software products that include functionality for pit optimisation, 3D visualisations and work flow that are sold in more than 85 countries.

The company formed as a result of a merger between Perth-based Surpac Software International and ECSI (Minex) in October 2002.

Other WA companies that develop mining technology and applications include Micromine, Data Mine Australia, RFI Pty Ltd, Fractal Technologies Pty Ltd, Metech Pty Ltd and Earth Resources Mapping (ERM).

WA also hosts other companies that initially developed technology for the mining industry, but have ended up applying the technology elsewhere.

One such company is QRSciences, which has developed technology to detect plastic explosives in luggage using radio waves. The technology has been sold to major US defence contractors.

The initial application of the technology was thought to be in above ground mineral detection for the mining industry.

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