The Western Australian [WA] Ministry of Mines and Petroleum has launched a A$3m ($2m) funding programme to support the development of new technologies for the mining sector.

The Mining Equipment, Technology and Services (METS) Innovation Programme will be led by the Minerals Research Institute of Western Australia (MRIWA).

The programme aims to widen the support for METS companies serving the local mining sector.

It will help advance research into low-emissions technologies, precision and low-impact mining, as well as alternative use of tailings.

The A$3m funding will be divided across industry-led research projects related to METS. Eligible companies as well as collaborative projects will be able to secure up to A$250,000.

The programme aims to replicate the success achieved by Portable PPB, which was recently named the WA Innovator of the Year.

Portable PPB had developed detectORE with support from MRIWA research funding. The technology helps personnel make quicker decisions while exploring for gold.

Besides, detectORE helps geologists detect gold in samples anywhere, down to very low levels of a few parts per billion. This approach can help save time and money.

Mines and Petroleum Minister David Michael said: “Western Australia’s mining sector is world-leading, and continued R&D is critical to ensuring the state is well positioned as global supply chains transition to cleaner and more innovative solutions.

“The METS sector plays an important part in the mining innovation life cycle. These companies can translate new knowledge created through research into the required solutions, which can be readily adopted by the mining industry.

“This Innovation Program is intended to assist METS companies to develop products and services to deliver efficiencies, increase productivity and increase the competitiveness of the WA mining sector, as well as open new international markets for their products.”