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How Do You Make Mining Better? Unearthed Thinks Tech Startups Hold The Key.

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|Dec 11|magazine5 min read

Coal continues to tumble down. Oil is well on its way. And people don’t even want to talk about iron ore anymore. The mining industry needs a lift, and that’s what Unearthed, a new tech accelerator based in Perth, is hoping to do over the next few years.

Three startups will be the focus of Unearthed’s efforts in its first six months, with the hope that in 2016, 10 startups can join up at a time. The program is supported by big names like Rio Tinto, BHP Billiton, Gold Fields and Austmine with the hope that these startups can help solve problems that are costing mining companies time, money and resources. Each startup will receive $70,000 worth of seed funding in exchange for 10 percent equity.

Resource Innovation through Information Technology (or RIIT) is the not-for-profit company manning the helm of Unearthed. Justin Strharsky of RIIT shared that by changing the mining industry’s current approach to innovation to one that is more time and cost-effective, mines will be able to implement game-changing technology sooner. Mining’s approach to innovation now has large investments on big technology now with the hope of seeing the returns a decade or more down the road.  

“We’re about open innovation and helping their investment create significant changes in between 12 and 18 months,” he says. “The event format lowers the barriers to experimentation and expedites the development of proof-of-concept solutions to high-value resources sector problems.

“Australian mining has experienced a steady decline in productivity over the past decade. Most stakeholders believe part of the solution lies in innovation and the ability of the mining industry to more quickly adopt new technologies.”

Newton Labs, innovators of a unique monitoring system that detects oversize boulders in hard rock mining, is the first startup to join Unearthed. The problem of oversize boulders costs the industry around $100 million a year. If Unearthed is able to reach its goals better tech will be reaching the mining industry in less time, and that’s something to be excited about.

Information sourced from StartupSmart.