Australian iron ore company Fortescue Metals Group has reached a non-binding agreement with technology firm Aurora Labs to explore the possible use of the latter’s 3D printing technology in the mining industry.
Fortescue has integrated operations across three mines sites in the Pilbara region of Western Australia.
Under the terms of the agreement, which includes an industry partner programme, Aurora will have the chance to work with Fortescue to demonstrate the potential of its rapid manufacturing technology (RMT) in the mining industry.
The deal could potentially involve the development of technology to cut production and operation costs in the mining and resources sectors.
Aurora Labs managing director David Budge said: “We’re very excited to sign a preliminary agreement with Fortescue and pursue the opportunity to apply Aurora’s Rapid Manufacturing Technology (RMT) to the mining sector.
“Fortescue is an ideal industry partner for us and they are at the forefront of technological advancements in the mining sector.
“We are building our industry partner programme with VEEM, DNV-GL, Advisian and Fortescue and it’s great to see some of Australia’s largest companies are keen to explore our technology. We see this as validation of what we are developing and it acknowledges the high potential that 3D printing has in transforming how parts are created and optimised.”
The agreement will be valid for an initial 12-month period, with an option to further extend it by mutual agreement.
Earlier this month, Aurora has reported an increase in print speed capability for the Alpha unit of its RMT technology. The company intends to commercialise the technology for metal manufacturing market.
Using 3D printers to print replacement mechanical parts on-site can help remote mine sites to source emergency parts while realising significant reductions in machinery downtime, thewest.com.au reported.