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Safe, efficient mines are sustainable mines: IMDEX


Leading global mining-tech company IMDEX is uniquely positioned to play a leading role in achieving a more sustainable community by developing products that make mining safer and more efficient, says chief executive officer Paul House.

Releasing the company’s first Sustainability Report, Mr House said that sustainability objectives and ESG principles should be driven by strong economic outcomes.

“To be truly sustainable, they must not be simply additional cost burdens to any organisation or industry,” he said.

IMDEX is present on 70 per cent of mineral drilling projects globally and has sales in more than 100 countries.

“The responsbility to prosecute mining activities in a safe and ethical manner has never been higher,” Mr House said. “Our community is increasing its demand for all industries to accept a greater burden of responsibility for its engagement in the environment and the community.

“Great opportunities exist for us to improve our quality of life, now and into the future, through the development of products and services that have a less negative impact.

“The levers that enable that progression are found in successfully extracting critical metals from the earth.

“As a mining-tech company, our opportunity, indeed our obligation, is to leverage the strength of our R&D capabilities, our geoscience expertise and our global teams to solve key mining industry challenges.

“Ultimately, our goal is not simply to make a better mine, it is to make all mining better.”

As examples, IMDEX solids removal units reduce water consumption by up to 70 per cent and limit environmental impact on site and its mining technologies enable signficant productivity, cost and safety benefits, targeting a 15 per cent to 20 per cent gain in mine to mill efficiency.

Mr House said IMDEX BLASTDOGTM — under development with the aim of providing greater orebody knowledge prior to blastsing — was an example of R&D solving mining industry problems and achieving greater efficiencies.

“A great deal of inefficiency exists in mining operations — by some estimates up to 40 per cent,” he said.

“This is not wilful, it is a direct result of lack of orebody knowledge. As a consequence, there is inefficient use of explosives and energy and ultimately poor fragmentation of the orebody.

“This means additional handling of rocks, and energy being consumed in the crushing and grinding circuits within a mine plant.

“We know that 4 per cent of the world’s electricity is consumed in crushing and grinding in the mining circuit alone. The ability for us to reduce client electricity consumption simply because they understand the orebody better has a very real and material impact on mining efficiency and mining economics.”

IMDEX says there will be a climate-driven change in its client base over the next five to 10 years as the minerals industry adapts to enhanced climate policy.

Mr House said the impacts of COVID “will be with us for some years to come”.

“We cannot become complacent in any way,” he said. “The fatigue that many people experience in working from home or working under restrictions imposed in their local jurisdictions continues to be a factor of which we are very mindful.”

The Sustainability Report is centred on four focus areas:

  • Supporting economic development
  • Driving the sustainability of the global minerals industry
  • Ensuring a safe and inclusive global workforce
  • Upholding ethical and sustainable business practices.

The complete IMDEX Sustainability Report 2021 is available here.