Bravery behind IMDEX’s global success, now innovation leader

By Mollie Tracey

In the realm of business success, a willingness to embrace risk is paramount, and IMDEX, a mining technology company, stands as a testament to this principle.

The company’s Chief of Strategy, Dr Michelle Carey, attributes the company’s remarkable global success to their audacious approach.

Today, IMDEX is regarded as one of Australia’s leading mining and resources tech companies, renowned for its innovation, pioneering solutions and business acumen.

IMDEX’s Mining Technology Operations Superintendent, WA, Adam Cooper and Chief of Strategy, Michelle Carey testing the BLASTDOG system. Photo courtesy of IMDEX.

“We enable drilling contractors and resource companies to safely find, define and mine orebodies with precision and at speed,” Carey says.

Established in 1980 in Perth, IMDEX now has a presence in 18 countries and more than 900 employees. The company still calls Perth its global headquarters, with about 150 staff.

“A lot of brave decisions were made early on to expand internationally,” Carey says.

“Following our customers was a big part of this. We recognise that we had customers who were drilling globally and so we went where they went.

“This also enabled us to provide a consistent product and service offering, which is important to our customers.”

Carey says acquisitions have also played a key role in the company’s growth.

“In some areas, we grew organically and in others we bought. We've made 20 acquisitions over 20 years,” she says.

“It's been a big part of our DNA and links back to our story of bravery. You've got to be willing to take a bit of risk.”

Mine with confidence and precision

IMDEX provides live data to its customers, enabling greater ‘rock knowledge’ and the ability to make the best mine development decisions.

“Rock knowledge is all about sensors, software and analytics that allow real-time answers around rock properties,” Carey says.

“An important part of this is optimising the drilling process in the first place through drilling fluids and also other software and technologies.”

CCIWA a constant support

IMDEX Chief of Strategy Dr Michelle Carey.

IMDEX became a CCIWA Member in 2021. Carey says the employee and workplace relations support has been especially valuable.

“CCIWA Membership has got a number of benefits for us, in particular our people team having access to the Employee Advice Relations Centre,” she says.

“And our people and safety teams find the [HR and WHS] briefings have valuable information around how legislation is changing – that is a big part for us.

Attending CCIWA’s networking events have also been of benefit to the business, Carey says.

“The events provide an avenue for our teams to meet potential customers and also hear from others in the industry about their challenges and how they are addressing them,” she says.

“We really appreciate the Member discounts to events and training. We'd absolutely recommend that other businesses also became CCIWA Members.”

Driven by sustainability, safety and cost-effectiveness

The BLASTDOG system is IMDEX’s latest product, currently in the final stages of the commercial prototype phase. Photo courtesy of IMDEX.

Sustainability and workplace health and safety are priorities at IMDEX.

Internally, the company has a sustainability policy, conducts environmental, social and governance (ESG) reporting and has an ESG committee as part of its board structure. It is also focused on safety, which has improved by 40% in the past year.

Externally, IMDEX’s products are designed with sustainability and safety front-of-mind.

“With our products, we have this idea of do no harm,” Carey says.

IMDEX takes into account the sustainability impacts of its products, such as its solids removal units and its latest innovation, the BLASTDOG. This is particularly relevant with the growing emphasis on scope 3 emissions reporting.

“A major value proposition of many of our tools and sensors is the ability to mine faster and more efficiently, resulting in both improved sustainability and safety,” Carey says.

“Some of our products have been designed to be more ergonomic, lighter and easier to use to increase ease for workers and result in less potential injury or fatigue.”

Collaboration essential for digitisation

BLASTDOG is another example of the company’s innovative solutions for the mining and resources industry. Photo courtesy of IMDEX.

According to Carey, the mining industry in WA – as well as globally – is undergoing a natural evolution towards digital transformation. But the main challenge is the degree of collaboration required.

“The reality is the need for collaboration between the tech sector and the resources companies is a really big challenge we're facing,” she says.

“If we want to meet the critical metal demand that our customers – and the world – are placing on us and do it in a sustainable way, that's going to take a level of technology that hasn't been seen before. And collaboration is a big part of that.”

The digitisation of trucks, trains and mine sites is becoming more prevalent, but Carey believes the same level of attention needs to be directed towards orebodies.

“We have to be collecting sensor data and understanding orebodies in that same digital way, if we truly want to shift in the way that the world is asking us to shift,” she says.

To be part of WA’s peak business organisation, get in touch via 1300 422 492 or [email protected]. 

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