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Breakthrough mining support technology Blast Dog, developed in Australia by global mining-tech company IMDEX, will be used at the Iron Bridge operations in the Pilbara under a new three-year agreement.

Iron Bridge is an unincorporated joint venture between Fortescue Metals Group (Fortescue) subsidiary FMG Iron Bridge and Formosa Steel IB.

The agreement is the first commercial application of Blast Dog and provides for a staged utilisation which IMDEX estimates will generate revenue of $13 million over the initial term.

Blast Dog is a commodity-agnostic blast hole sensing and physicals measurement technology and is semi-autonomously deployed for logging material properties and blast hole characteristics at high spatial density across the bench and mine.

It provides material physical property measurements prior to blasthole drilling to inform decisions regarding blasting, screening, blending and stockpiling, among others, before these materials are subject to processing. These properties form the inputs to a tactical approach to ore characterisation and processing.

IMDEX chief executive officer Paul House said the company’s win of the Iron Bridge scope was a defining moment for the company.

“This is homegrown technology designed to provide meaningful, quantifiable benefits for the mining industry,” he said.

“We are not aware of any other technology that has the capacity to produce the same quantity and quality of pre-blast rock data and provide as large an impact on downstream processes.”

IMDEX chief geoscientist Dave Lawie said the company overcame many obstacles, including mine access issues caused by COVID, to deliver the project in Australia and the Americas.

“It is recognition for five years of intense effort spanning the USA, Queensland, Western Australia and Chile in conjunction with our METS Ignited project partners,” he said.

“In addition to the work for the Iron Bridge joint venture, we are involved in ongoing, pre-commercial trials across various operations in Australia, Canada, and Chile.”

The announcement comes as IMDEX announced record revenue, record earnings and continued EBITDA margin expansion for the full financial year.

The company reported that the FY22 year was defined by a combination of positive market demand, offset by challenging labour and supply chain considerations.

House said the results demonstrated the strength of IMDEX’s business model, its objective to outperform industry market growth and the responsiveness of its global teams in all conditions.

“The strong uplift in earnings has been driven by an increase in integrated solutions to customers and the increasing percentage of revenue coming from our higher-margin sensors and software business,” he said.

“At the close of FY22, rentals and subscriptions represented 58 per cent of revenue. Significantly, we achieved EBITDA margins of 31 per cent and our third consecutive year of EBITDA margin expansion.”