Australia Takes Lead in Mining Technology

Ahead of the launch of the world’s first fully automated mine in Australia’s Pilbara region, the country has become the global leader in mining technology and innovation, according to Australian Mining Equipment Technology and Services (Austmine) chairman, Alan J Broome.

In an exclusive interview with at MINExpo in Las Vegas, Broome highlighted Australia’s leading areas of expertise and export, which include software development, strata control and safety systems.

With 43% of Australia’s GDP attributed to mining in one form or another, the country has pushed hard over the last ten years to create leading innovative technologies, said Broome. The result of this dedication will be the world’s first fully automated mine.

"We will have the world’s first fully automated mine over the next 18 months, which will be operated from Perth, 1500km away from its location in the Pilbara," said Broome.

While the Australian Government has been looking very closely to stimulate innovation, there is still more that can be done, admitted Broome.

"Some of the mechanisms for improved R&D are in place. We are encouraging the government to run programmes to help companies commercialise [their products], with grants," said Broome.

Broome said there is a great deal of research going into the next wave of technologies, which includes application of fuel cell technology into mining equipment.

While Broome thinks that Australia could further benefit in efficiency by building all of its own equipment, the high level of technological expertise is certainly enough to keep it ahead of its global rivals.

By Ozge Ibrahim