The South Australian Government is backing new moves to bring more technology into the mining sector.

A partnership has been unveiled between the SA Government and the Australian Information Industry Association (AIIA) to set up an ‘Internet of Things’ hub for the mining and energy resources sector.

It aims to find high-tech means of boosting productivity, efficiency and safety in the sector.

The proponents say the cluster – the first of its kind in the world – will also encourage industry collaboration and streamline the flow of information.

They say this will take the form of real-time machine and sensor integration, fleet operations monitoring, plant dashboards and trend analysis, ore-grade sensing and sales and supply chain management.

“There’s expansive use of sensor technologies in the mining, resources and energy sector and that includes things as simple as sensors on drill bits to make sure the maximum utilisation of the tool is achieved in the extraction of ore,” says AIIA CEO Suzanne Campbell.

“There’s a vast amount of opportunities with regard to the devices but the device is only the beginning of the story, it’s the collection of the data and the analysis and manipulation of the data to create those insights to allow businesses to make decisions in new and different ways - that’s where the real power sits with the Internet of Things.”

The virtual cluster will begin with members of AIIA’s Mining & Energy Resources special interest group, but is intended to expand to include universities, tech firms and supply chain operators.

“But we have a commitment to the state government to go to the market to establish a much broader collective of industry participants to join the cluster so we’re looking forward to a very energetic start to the year,” Campbell said.

“It is in anticipation of benefits for South Australia directly and also for Australia and globally. The investment that’s being made is an investment to promote, motivate and inspire new business opportunities within South Australia and further afield.”

“We don’t believe there is another one around the world,” said Interim Cluster Facilitator Martin Woodcock.

“The supply chain of the mining and the resource companies extend right around the world so what we’re trying to create are technologies that will be sold into those supply chains.”

“The concept behind the cluster is how to get companies to collaborate in more effective ways than they do at the moment so what we’re looking to do is not only get complementary companies to come together but to get competitive companies together to generate new things through the collaboration that the cluster offers.”

The South Australian Government is contributing $750,000 over three years to the project.

SA Manufacturing and Innovation Minister Kyam Maher says it will be critical to future competitiveness of mining and energy resources.

“The Internet of Things will open new opportunities in the mining and energy resources sector, with the power to make our local industry more productive and better able to maintain competitiveness in highly volatile global markets,” Maher said.

“Innovation is crucial to the future productivity and efficiency of this country’s resources sector.”