Supporting the mining industry to meet environmental targets

11 January 2022

A University of Queensland start-up company has secured $240,000 in venture capital to further develop technology focused on the environmental management of mine sites.

Mine-R is a cloud-native platform that uses artificial intelligence to analyse satellite imagery and track a mine site's environmental progress, and was developed by – a company founded by research students Roger Tang and Imam Purwadi from UQ’s Sustainable Minerals Institute.

Imam Purwadi (left) and Roger Tang (right)

Following the recent investment from Galileo Ventures, will proceed with plans to release a prototype of Mine-R and initiate pilot trials.

Roger Tang said the technology would help mining companies plan, predict and implement an effective environmental strategy that would also integrate with mine planning.

“The mining sector has been very receptive to what we are aiming to achieve,” he said.

“The industry is currently going through a volatile change regarding technology and policy - globally, companies are adapting to more stringent environmental policies which require more frequent and detailed reporting.

“Alongside this we are seeing a data boom and companies are adopting new digital systems including automation, digital twins and the use of more complex data analysis.

“We can help companies leverage these technologies and provide environmental insights - not only will this reduce risk but will significantly improve efficiency.

“We primarily focus on satellite imagery as it’s the most suitable for mining. You can assess huge areas for environmental risks at a fraction of the cost.

“We keep the data insights simple. Mine-R has custom dashboards to track changes and a semi-automated reporting function to make things easier.”

In 2021 was part of the UQ Ventures ilab Accelerator Program and Roger admits it has been a very busy twelve months.

“Just over a year ago this was still an idea - the iLab program was a great experience and now Galileo Ventures are also providing brilliant support.

“Finishing a PhD and running a start-up has been challenging - working evenings and weekends has become the norm but it has been very rewarding.

“I would say the highlights were developing relationships with people who have contributed to our growth as a start-up, and sharing our ideas with companies on how data can improve environmental performance, often cheaper and more accurately than current methods.”

Sustainable Minerals Institute Director Professor Neville Plint said he was excited to watch the progress of

“This technology has the potential to make a real impact on the industry and I am immensely pleased for Roger and Imam who have worked extremely hard to pursue the project and build the networks to move it forward,” he said.

“It’s important our PhD students are supported to commercialise their research, and alongside UQ initiatives we have established the Dan Alexander Memorial Fund with JKTech to provide seed funding for projects.”

Media: Gillian Ievers, 0438 121 757