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Austmine has launched an initiative to help regional Western Australian mining equipment, technology and services (METS) companies increase their digital mining capabilities and global competitiveness.

The METS Digital Mining Export Hub initiative will bring together regional METS companies and connect them into those based in Perth to build export skills and identify global market opportunities.

The Western Australian Government has committed $400,000 to the launch of the virtual export hub through Invest and Trade WA.

Austmine stated that the hub would address COVID-19’s acceleration of digitalisation in mining by giving hub members access to digital developments and strategic insights.

The launch of the virtual hub featured outreach activities to engage with the 1700 METS companies located in different parts of Western Australia, including Perth, Bunbury, Kalgoorlie, Newman, Karratha and Port Hedland.

Activities planned under the new initiative include mapping the METS capabilities of small and medium enterprises in Western Australia; developing Austmine’s export strategy; capability development programs; and promoting the state’s METS sector to the rest of the world.

Western Australian Mines and Petroleum Minister Bill Johnston on Friday launched the inaugural digital export hub in Port Hedland, which he said would help build export capacity, knowledge and opportunities between regional, remote and metropolitan small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs).

“Today’s launch of Austmine’s WA METS Digital Mining Export Hub is groundbreaking for the local METS sector, and a fantastic result for Western Australia,” he said.

“Western Australia’s mining technology is world-leading, and the hub will enable these local companies to provide their services across the globe.

“The export hub will not only be vital in supporting the state’s recovery, post-COVID-19, but will also be a boost to jobs and our local economies.”

The virtual hub will initially provide services in Port Hedland, Karratha, Newman, Kalgoorlie and Bunbury.

METS businesses contributed around $27 billion to the Western Australia  economy in 2018-19.