Western Australia’s dynamic mining industry, which operates in some of the world’s harshest and most remote conditions, relies heavily on the mining equipment, technology and services (METS) sector.
The challenge of ensuring that Western Australia's mines remain sustainably productive, while achieving operational efficiency and meeting high environmental standards, has nurtured efficient and technologically advanced METS companies.
Australia’s METS sector generates $90 billion in gross annual revenue; Western Australia’s 350 METS companies – approximately one-third of the total number surveyed nationwide – account for 26 per cent, or around $23 billion. Western Australia was announced as the world’s most attractive mining investment destination in the Fraser Institute’s 2015 Survey of Mining Companies.
Several Western Australian companies are world leaders. Ausdrill has 4000 employees in eight countries; acQuire (geoscientific information management systems) has seven offices in six countries; Immersive Technologies (the world’s largest supplier of surface and underground mining equipment simulators) has offices in 10 countries; and Micromine, which has 19 overseas offices, provides intuitive software solutions to the world’s major mineral-producing nations.
These companies are crucial to the operations of 294 mineral projects with 1,046 operating mine sites, producing over 50 different commodities in Western Australia, more than any other Australian state or territory.
As at March 2016, there was a total of $94.1 billion worth of resource projects under construction or committed in Western Australia and $44.3 billion worth of projects under consideration.
Investment opportunities exist in core engineering design and project management, consulting services, core mining and processing equipment, IT equipment and related services, specialised technology and general support services.
Attracted by the strength of Western Australia’s mining sector, many international METS companies have chosen to expand operations to include Perth through acquisitions, partnerships or opening their own local office.
Companies servicing the mining sector through their own Perth offices include Switzerland’s ABB and Leica Geosystems, Sweden’s Atlas Copco and Sandvik, Japan’s Hitachi and Komatsu, and Finland’s METSO and Outotec.
Companies such as IBM, with its first Natural Resource Solutions Centre for Mining, and BASF have positioned themselves in Perth to access the technologies and innovations associated with local METS companies and research institutes.