“One of the trends that we have noticed in exploration is deeper drilling, so we are now developing technologies to help the industry successfully drill deeper without the risk of missing a target or increasing costs substantially.”

Michelle Carey

GENERAL MANAGER FOR PRODUCT DEVELOPMENT, IMDEX

July 18, 2019

Since its establishment in 1980, IMDEX has evolved to become a one-stop solution provider within the global minerals industry. Could you outline your journey to our readers?

The evolution of IMDEX over the last 15 years can be attributed to our commitment to ongoing internal R&D, together with strategic acquisitions. As an example, the acquisition of REFLEX changed our company from a fluids business into a sensor provider. Our core business evolved to be drilling fluids, survey tools and core orientation tools.  We then realized that we had an opportunity to broaden our portfolio further. In 2012, IMDEX purchased ioGlobal – a data analytics and high-end consultancy company. This marked our move into the digital space. Our aim was to be an end-to-end solution provider, where our clients could use sensors to gather data, have the data delivered to wherever it was needed and attain insight on the back of this data. In parallel, the range of the sensors that we have been providing is growing too, mainly through our internal R&D efforts. It has been quite an aggressive journey, but there are still many opportunities and a lot we can achieve for the global minerals industry.

What is driving IMDEX’s growth strategy from both an organic and inorganic perspective?

There are two principal aspects to our growth strategy: growing our core business by enhancing and extending technical leadership, together with technology integration; and extension into adjacent markets.  Examples of our execution of this strategy include: our commitment to ongoing internal R&D; the option to acquire new drilling productivity technologies – the COREVIBE™ and MAGHAMMER™; and our Drill & Blast projects.

What is driving IMDEX’s product innovation?

IMDEX’s product innovation is driven by watching macro trends in the industry and staying close to its clients’ needs. For example, one of the trends that we have noticed in exploration is deeper drilling, so we are now developing technologies to help the industry successfully drill deeper without the risk of missing a target or increasing costs substantially. Major clients in the market are also becoming more data centric and IMDEX is responding to this.

How adaptable is your suite of solutions, especially given the harsh environment and relative isolation of some of Australia’s mining operations?

IMDEX is focused on driller operability as we want to put a sophisticated sensor in the hands of drillers anywhere on the planet. The sensors are developed to work in different environmental conditions so that we do not have to evolve our products to suit different markets.

What is IMDEX’s value proposition to the market?

IMDEX’s global reach and IP protected technologies are key differentiators in a competitive market. Our claim to fame is that wherever someone is drilling, we will be there to offer a high level of service. We can also guarantee the quality of data so that our clients can make accurate decisions on the back of reliable data that they can trust.

With all our survey and core orientation technologies connected to our secure cloud-based software (IMDEX HUB-IQ™), we have the added differentiator of being able to seamlessly link with third party analytical software to demonstrate the true value of 3D real-time visualization of the borehole. With our technologies and sensors, clients can stop over drilling holes resulting in less ineffective meters drilled. A lot more can then be understood about a property in a shorter time period, which leads to increased productivity and efficiency.

Could you elaborate on the willingness of the mining industry to adopt innovative technologies?

The minerals industry is traditionally slower to adopt new technologies and innovation. As an example, IMDEX has been managing data in the cloud for over 10 years, and we experienced a hesitant attitude from our clients in the beginning. Pleasingly, the adoption of new technologies is gaining momentum, and there has been a shift in mindsets and attitudes.  We are now seeing significant adoption globally of our cloud solution IMDEXHUB-IQ™.

Where does IMDEX see opportunity for geographic growth moving forward?

South America has been the area where IMDEX has moved in most aggressively in recent times, and we believe there is quite a bit of additional growth to come from the continent. In response to this, we now have an established presence in Chile, Peru, Brazil and Argentina and are currently setting up an entity in Ecuador. Similarly, opportunities exist in the Russian market, where we already have a distributor and established facilities in Europe.

What are IMDEX’s objectives moving forward and could you provide a final message?

In the short-term, we will be focusing on commercializing our new core technologies and supporting market adoption. Longer-term, we will be doing more with cloud-based analytics, which is a natural extension to the desktop analytics and cloud data management that we currently provide.  Ultimately, we want to offer our clients a richer sensor and data experience, so that they can make better decisions regarding their operations.

Our technologies are applicable across the mining value chain, so we will leverage opportunities in the adjacent mining market. For example, we have an exciting project to improve drill and blast operational productivity through optimized material characterization and sensor technology development.

As a final message, we are a leading global mining technology company that successfully enhances the productivity and efficiency of our clients’ operations.  Our technologies have played a significant role in the step-change that the global minerals industry is now undergoing.

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