Amira Global is celebrating its Members, new and old. This week we spoke to Dr Dave Lawie at IMDEX.
Q1. What would like the Amira community to know about your business?
I often say we are one of the largest mining tech companies that no-one has heard of. IMDEX has been operating in the market for 20 years, but we are best known for our brands AMC and Reflex.
IMDEX HQ is in Perth and we are an ASX 300-company looking to move to the ASX 200. We are truly global; where there is resource exploration and development activities our products are there. Approximately 70 percent of our business is exporting, with major markets in North America, Austpac, Africa, Europe and South America. We have 20 offices and distribution points around the world, which means that during COVID-19 we have not had to fly people across borders to assist with equipment deployment and training, although we are now looking at remote support options. In a way, the COVID-19 experience has fast tracked many of our processes.
Q2. What is the problem that, if solved, would make the biggest difference to our industry?
As our technology is used from green field to in-mine environments, we see silos in both companies and production processes. It is trite to say but breaking down silos in workflows across the mining value chain would make a very large difference. I also believe the industry does not pay enough attention to infrequent, yet large negative outcomes, such as an abandoned deep diamond hole or a blocked ore pass. It is easier to value an increase in productivity at the low percent level than value the prevention of a financially asymmetric downside risk.
I also believe the standardisation of data, both the type and its collection, would be transformative. It is currently extremely difficult for the mining industry to leverage AI and machine learning due to the inconsistencies in data collection.
Q3. What do you think are the greatest challenges to successful collaboration and how can they be overcome?
There needs to be an element of mutual ‘back scratching’; it has to be a winning proposition for all involved. You also need a clear IP arrangement, a good potential commercial outcome, and the parties should not overlap in their core business.
We take our partnering seriously, looking at synergies with other organisations. It is one of the main reasons we have come back to Amira Global.
Q4. Innovation has its origins in addressing challenges or leveraging R&D – what are your success stories?
IMDEX has been very good in taking tech to the origin of data. That is, we simplified complex technologies and put them in the hands of the user, eliminating the need for specialists on site.
Twenty years ago if you wanted to measure the trajectory of a drill hole you would have needed specialists onsite. We have taken sophisticated technology, improved it out-of-sight, and developed a robust and rugged product that is simple to use that feeds information to drill companies in real-time. This is not simple to do. For two decades now we continue to put the power of quite complex analytics into the hands of the domain specialists via ioGAS.
We are also the only company in the world to bring a web-based hub environment (IMDEX HUB-IQ) that is able to collect, aggregate and quality check data from our field sensors in real time and make it available back in Head Office, or wherever you are. We differentiate what we do from what people traditionally understand as the IoT (trucks, shovel monitoring etc) by calling it the IoG, the Internet of Geosensing. That is our space and what we excel at.
Q5. From whom do you drawn your greatest inspiration?
I respect and admire those entrepreneurs and innovation start-ups who have laid it all on the line to develop a product, whether successful or not. Talk is always cheap; I admire those who take a rational risk and go and do it.