WA shares in $7m mining tech funding

03/07/2018 - 15:21

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ASX-listed Imdex, software company Manufacturing Intelligence and Emapper are among five local companies in the mining technology sector that will share in $7.1 million of federal government funding announced today in Perth.

Manufacturing Intelligence's Bill Poole (left), Emapper's Julian Kruger, UWA's Aiden Taba, Imdex managing director Bernie Ridgeway and Qteq chief technology officer Tim Hopper. Photo: Gabriel Oliveira

ASX-listed Imdex, software company Manufacturing Intelligence and Emapper are among five local companies in the mining technology sector that will share in $7.1 million of federal government funding announced today in Perth.

The funding, which is focused on companies within the mining equipment, technology and services industry, was allocated through government organisation METS Ignited.

East Perth-based Emapper received the largest share of the funding of any Western Australian company, with a $1.2 million investment.

The business is developing an environmental information management system tailored to mining companies.

Its partners in the project include Roy Holdings and Mount Gibson Iron.

Imdex was awarded $1 million to contribute to its blasthole drilling data collection project.

Its partners include Orica, Anglo American and Teck Australia.

Manufacturing Intelligence received $980,000 to assist with its project, which aims to provide a singular software package during the mining process.

It has partnered with Fortescue Metals Group and South32.  

The University of Western Australia was awarded $100,000 to establish a testing lab for METS companies to test their technology while Qteq was awarded $239,000 to develop subsurface drilling sensors in partnership with Wallis Drilling.

“This has the potential to dramatically reduce borehole drilling and logging costs in the mining industry," Qteq CTO Dr Tim Hopper said.

Qteq is incredibly appreciative of the government’s support for the project, which will soon be trialled commercially outside of Perth in tandem with Wallis Drilling’s automated RC drilling rig.

"We have a R&D technology hub in Perth that benefits from the presence of major mining companies, fellow METS businesses and local universities.”      

To receive funding, each company needed to provide an equal or greater amount of its own seed funding.

The largest share of the funding – $2 million – was awarded to Resolution Systems – a South Australia-based business conducting a project to develop software that will increase the efficiency of mine truck fleets.

METS Ignited chief executive Roc Gros said the funding would spur collaboration in the sector.

"Opportunities for the sector to band together and innovate are vital to the growth of the sector," he said.

"Facilitating such innovation is part of the mandate for METS Ignited, and the recipients of this round will be making invaluable contributions to the mining and METS sectors through their initiatives."

The funding is part of a four-year, $15.6 million commitment made by the Department of Industry, Innovation and Science.

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