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$4 million grant released for mining robotics and automation projects

The federal government is providing over $4 million in funding for eight projects in the mining equipment, technology and services (METS) sector, focusing on robotics and automation.

The grants under Tranche 3 of the METS Ignited Project Funds initiative will be boosted by a further $6.9 million cash contribution from industry.

Minister for Industry, Science and Technology Karen Andrews said the program encourages Australian METS companies to work together, with funding support from an end-user, such as a mining company.

“The METS industry is a world leader in mining innovation and the Liberal National Government is committed to supporting this vital sector of our economy,” Andrews said.

“Australia’s METS Growth Centre, METS Ignited, is strengthening Australia’s position as a global hub for mining innovation and boosting the competitive advantage of the industry, to grow our economy and create more jobs.”

The funded projects include the following:

Four from Western Australia:

  • Process IQ is helping specialist grinding experts to interact in real time with remote mine sites, and developing AI software to emulate specialist expertise in mining;
  • AMOG is developing automated oversize detection that alerts the mine when rocks are too big to process, to stop blockages in the crushing and grinding circuits that are costly and time consuming;
  • And in a separate project, AMOG is developing a predictive analytics tool that allows copper and nickel mines to close for descaling. It is very costly if mines are closed too early or too late; and
  • Magotteaux is commercialising a device that will assist in getting the chemical balance right to remove valuable minerals from ore bringing a large financial benefit to the mine.

Two from New South Wales:

  • Austmine will build on its METS Career Pathway Program; and
  • Roobuck is developing sensors and software to track the location of people and machinery working in underground mines to ensure that collisions are avoided.

Two from Queensland:

  • Mineral Technologies is automating the process used to optimise the concentration of lower grade ore into higher value ore for export; and
  • Premron is developing a continuous haulage system that will revolutionise underground coal mining.
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