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Rockwell Automation pushes mining automation

If mining is big business in Australia, mining automation is no small change. Rockwell Automation recently rganised the Executive China-Australia Mining Forum to showcase key technologies and share information. The Forum in Brisbane attracted over a hundred engineers from the two countries.

"The objective is to increase collaboration between mining automation groups in Australia and in China – at the end user level, as well as for Chinese investors who are investing in new Australian mines," explains Geoffrey Irvine, Industry Solutions Manager, Rockwell Automation (pictured here).

There is also robust trade at the equipment supply or OEM level. "It’s not just Australian OEMs that are supplying into China," notes Irvine. "Chinese OEMs, who are new to the local mining market, are emerging particularly strong and supplying equipment here."

The forum was split into two streams: Process & Automation and Power & Safety. Topics ranged from ‘Best Practices for HMI Graphic Design’ and ‘Production and Delay Reporting Systems for Mining Operations’ to ‘Sustainable Longwall Coal Shearing Systems.’

Rockwell Automation cut back on the marketing spiel and organised the Forum as a customer application driven event. "The direct involvement that Rockwell Automation has in terms of these talks is a fairly thin layer," explains Irvine.

"This works better than a comprehensive product presentation. Making the connection between the application and how our equipment is utilised, is a very strong selling point."

Irvine played a key role in pulling the event together and spent some time talking to end users to determine the hot topics in the mining industry today.

He highlights the session on remote operating centres. "Everybody wants to do that. It’s similar to what many large mining companies have developed and implemented," he says.

The Forum was ‘opened’ by Minister for Foreign Affairs, Kevin Rudd, who was beamed in via a pre-recorded video message.

He pointed to a recent study by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade which revealed that the average mining company spends $24.40 on embodied services for every $100 of coal extracted in Australia.

"It’s not just the commodity but also the sale of services built into that commodity and this fuels a whole lot of other jobs in the economy," said Rudd.

Rudd also used the opportunity to push the Australia-China 2.0 plan which is designed to help Australia’s businesses expand their links with five of that country’s booming regional second-tier cities.

"Today’s event, and the issues you will be discussing, are important to maintain the momentum of our trade," he remarked.

"Our skilled professionals, advanced extraction processes and cutting edge technology have all made Australia a leader in the global minerals industry. We’re also a leader in mining equipment, technology and services."

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