Handed out in the second round of the four-year, $15.6 million METS Ignited Collaborative Project Funds project, the funds are designed to incentivise collaboration and address mining equipment, technology and services sector priorities.
Second round recipients were IMDEX, The University of Western Australia, Manufacturing Intelligence, Emapper, Energetique Mining Vehicles, Qtec, Resolution Systems and Micronised Mineral Systems.
Announcing the recipients at Perth's CORE Innovation Hub, Federal Minister for Jobs and Innovation Michaelia Cash said the eight would be able to launch collaborative industry projects that would deliver highly advanced solutions to a variety of mining challenges and contribute to the growth and capability of the METS sector.
The METS Ignited Project Fund gives matched funding to collaborative industry partners that can address one of five strategic priorities of aligned strategy; global brand; international competitiveness; collaboration and innovation; and skilling for 2026.
Eligible projects must also be of broad benefit to the Australian METS sector.
METS Ignited CEO Ric Gros said the funding would spur necessary collaboration, which was vital to the growth of the sector.
Gros said facilitating such innovation was part of the mandate for METS Ignited, and recipients of this round would be making invaluable contributions to the mining and METS sectors through their initiatives.
Resolution Systems, a South Australian-based business, was awarded the biggest share - $2 million - to further develop software designed to increase the efficiency of mine truck fleets.
Resolution founder Kim Eales told Australia's Mining Monthly he was collaborating with Petra Data Science on integrating their systems so they could offer a full data solution.
This move, according to Petra director Penny Stewart, was revolutionary in a sector that had struggled with collaboration.
Toowoomba-based Qteq is partnering with Wallis Drilling to develop subsurface measurement while drilling sensors for reverse circulation drilling.
The revolutionary subsurface drilling sensors are expected to reduce borehole drilling and logging costs.
Qteq chief technology officer Dr Tim Hopper said Qteq is incredibly appreciative of the Government's support for the project, which will soon be trialled commercially in tandem with Wallis Drilling's automated RC drilling rig.
Qteq CEO Simon Ashton said Qteq is 90% owned by management and staff and is set to continue on its growth trajectory as it becomes the recognised technology bridge between the oil and gas industry and the mining and groundwater industries.
He said the company is not constrained by its ambition, it simply needs a little support from government to create those major export markets that are open to Australian innovation and ingenuity, and the METS grant will help achieve this ambition.
Cash told AMM the projects had the capacity to transform the industry.
Using Emapper's project as an example, Cash said apart from creating additional productivity, the drone project would also have a big impact on work health and safety as workers would not have to operate in some of the most inhospitable places on the planet in WA.
Emapper is developing an environmental management system that is delivered through a cloud-based web mapping application.
WA has some of the world's deadliest snakes and the harshest of conditions, Cash said, so this got rid of the dull, the dangerous and the dirty.
When asked if the push for innovation, particularly in terms of automation, would lead to more job losses Cash said "absolutely not".
She said the funds would ensure businesses were born and would go out and grow, which meant mining projects could go further riding in the slipstream of Australia's internationally renowned METS sector.
Cash said this would ultimately create more jobs for Australia.