$4.1m funding for mining technology projects announced

March 08, 2019

The Federal Minister for Industry, Science and Technology has announced seven mining technology businesses as the recipients of $4.1m in innovation funding.

mineral technologies

Image: Hon Karen Andrews MP,  Federal Minister for Industry, Science and Technology, announcing the METS Ignited Collaborative Project Funds at Mineral Technologies on the Gold Coast. (Image credit: METS Ignited)

The funding has been awarded under the METS Ignited Collaborative Project Funds and was announced by the Hon Karen Andrews MP on 1 March. METS Ignited is an industry-led organisation which aims to increase the competitiveness of Australia’s METS (Mining Equipment, Technology and Services) sector through innovative mining technology projects.

The recipients of the funding will now be able to launch eight collaborative industry projects that will deliver highly-advanced solutions to a variety of mining technology challenges and contribute to the growth and capability of the METS sector.

This funding is part of a four-year, $15.6m commitment made by the Australian Government to incentivise collaboration and address METS sector priorities. The funding established the METS Ignited Collaborative Project Funds, which support industry-led mining technology projects to improve the productivity, competitiveness and innovative capacity in the METS sector.

Acting CEO of METS Ignited, Ian Dover, says the funding will spur necessary collaboration in the sector and drive development of technologies that will be vital for the future of the mining sector.

“Active collaboration across the ecosystem is core to accelerating commercialisation of innovation and has been lacking in the METS and mining sector, where historically relationships have been in the main transactional,” says Dover.


METS Ignited has awarded the funds to businesses specialising largely in mining technology: robotics and automation, data analytics, data platforms, internet of things and business and professional services. The largest fund recipients were Queensland-based Mineral Technologies and Premron, awarded $1M each.

Collectively, the projects will benefit the mining sector by optimising the value chain, increasing productivity for mining and mineral processing, supporting and enhancing environmental management, and improving operational safety.

The projects are summarised below.

mineral technologies

Image: Andrew Foster, Jess Maddren and Ian Dover at Mineral Technologies. (Image credit: METS Ignited)

Automation of the Roy Hill Iron Ore Benefication plant

Recipient: Mineral Technologies

Partners: Roy Hill

Collaborative Project Funds: $1M

Industry investment: $1M

This project automates the gravity separation spiral process used in the mine tooptimise the concentration of lower grade ore into higher value ore for export.

Continuous Haulage System

Recipient: Premron

Partners: Gauley Robertson Australia, Kestrel Coal Mine

Collaborative Project Funds: $1M

Industry investment: $1.13M

Continuous haulage will revolutionise coal mining in underground mines. It eliminates the use of shuttle cars, which are used to take the coal cut from the wall of the mine to a transfer point further away in the mine. CHS will see the coal go straight onto a conveyor belt and out of the mine.

Austmine METS career Pathway Program

Recipient: Austmine

Collaborative Project Funds: $240K

Industry investment: $1.76M

This project places university students as interns in METS companies around Australia, increasing the interest level and uptake of graduates into the METS sector.

The OVERwatch Platform

Recipient: Roobuck

Partners: Redpine Signals, Northpark Mines, University of Wollongong

Collaborative Project Funds: $600K

Industry investment: $1.5M

This project develops sensors and software to track the location of people and machinery working in underground mines and ensure that collisions are avoided. This is a complex project as there is limited communication options underground (e.g. no wifi).

Remote grinding optimisation and support centre

Recipient: ProcessIQ

Partners: Orway Mineral Consultants, Jamieson Consulting, Curtin University

Collaborative Project Funds: $620K

Industry investment: $780K

This project enables grinding experts to interact directly and in real time with grinding circuits on remote minesites to ensure they are operating at their most productive levels.The project will develop automated AI software to emulate the experts as there is very limited supply of this specialist expertise, leading to increased processing efficiency globally.

Automated Oversize Detection

Recipient: AMOG

Partners: Omniflex

Collaborative Project Funds: $150K

Industry investment: $220K

This project involves developing sensor equipment that alerts the mine when rocks are too big to process throughthe crushing and grinding equipment. Blockages in the crushing and grinding circuits are costly and time-consuming. Haulage trucks with oversized rocks will be diverted to a separate location in the mine, which avoids stoppages.

Smooth Operator leach circuit process optimisation

Recipient: AMOG

Partners: Lithium Consultants

Collaborative Project Funds: $220K

Industry investment: $220K

This project involves developing a predictive analytics tool that allows copper and nickel mines to pinpoint when they should close equipment for descaling. Closing equipment too late or early is very costly. There is a very large global market for this product.

Commercialisation of pulp chemistry monitor for the mining industry

Recipient: Magotteaux

Partners: Hydrix, Manta Controls, Newcrest Mining

Collaborative Project Funds: $250K

Industry investment: $310K

This project involves developing a device to give more detailed information on the chemistry inside the grinding mill while it is operating. Grinding and flotation circuitsuse many chemical inputs in order to extractminerals from the ore. Getting the chemical balance right in the mill and the next stage of floatation is critical to removing as much of the valuable mineral as possible. The percentages of the yield vary between 85% and 95% and a 1% improvement in yield will deliver a very large financial benefit to the mine.

Originally published by METS Ignited.

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