Global mining technology leader Imdex has signed up as the inaugural major industry partner at the Australian Automation and Robotics Precinct (AARP) north of Perth in Western Australia. The company has one of its BlastDog robotic drill-hole sensing and logging units at the site.
Imdex expects to be able to accelerate testing and demonstration of BlastDog through the use of the unique AARP centre. WA is a significant global market for autonomous mining machines and for Imdex’s portfolio of sub-surface “orebody knowledge” hardware and software products.
It now has BlastDogs going through commercial testing at a number of sites around the world.
Imdex CEO Paul House says having a purpose-built robotics research and development site so close to the company’s headquarters is ideal.
“While we operate globally and have an unrivalled presence on all major mining operations, WA is home to some of the world’s major mining companies so having the opportunity to develop and promote our technology locally is an additional benefit,” House says.
“BlastDog won’t be the only technology we will test at the site. We have plans for testing a range of Imdex tools and technology developed by our research and development team.”
Imdex says it has recently signed deals with two tier-one mining companies for further commercial testing of BlastDog, developed in collaboration with Queensland-based Universal Field Robots and Imdex industry partners Teck Resources Limited and Anglo American.
Imdex has signed on as an industry partner for an initial period of two years and will build and maintain a common-user Drill Pad in the precinct’s 22-hectare ‘Dirt Lab’, a unique mine test and development landscape offering commercial and collaborative opportunities for users.
Work is about to start on a 1200-square-metre common user facility building at the AARP, with the building to play a pivotal role in developing a collaborative ecosystem at the precinct.
AARP is being developed with A$28 million of state government funding.
It will become Australia’s largest robotics and automation centre and provide local, national, and international industry innovators and researchers the opportunity to accelerate technology development, testing and scaling without interrupting end-users’ site operations.
“By providing infrastructure to enable technological development, knowledge sharing and collaboration, we are creating avenues for growth and innovation in local industries and positioning WA as a global technology hub,” WA lands minister John Carey said this week.