GE has signed its first contract with an Australian mining company in the digital space as part of the industrial giant’s push to become a software provider for industrials aligning their IT and operational technology.

Mining company South32 and GE have signed a three-year strategic partnership to assist in the development of South32’s technology roadmap and digital transformation.

Headquartered in Perth, South32 has mining and metals operations in Australia, Southern Africa and South America.

The partnership is a step towards playing a much bigger role in the global mining sector, GE said.

“The future of mining is digital. With data and analytics, we can achieve greater levels of productivity, operational efficiencies, and improve safety,” GE CEO and chairman, Jeff Immelt said. “We look forward to working with South32 to help them optimise their operations and accelerate the digital transformation of the mining industry at large.”

South32 will utilise GE’s Predix platform, which is designed specifically for industry and connects industrial equipment, data analysis and instant insights. The system will enable South32 to make fast, informed decisions, and provides the opportunity to optimise entire operations, rather than individualised assets and equipment, the company said.

“Bringing the world of operational technology and information technology together to monitor equipment and systems remotely and predict future behaviour is a game changer,” said Graham Kerr, CEO of South32. “It has the potential to identify and solve a problem before it affects operations.”

“By partnering with GE, we have an opportunity to transform the way we work,” added Ricus Grimbeek, Chief Technology Officer, South32. “If we get this right, the result won’t just be an incremental improvement but a new level of efficiency and performance.”

GE Australia, CEO Geoff Culbert said this partnership opens up the potential for a whole new market. “Successfully transforming the mining sector for the digital age poses an enormous opportunity for Australia. This is innovation at industrial scale in an area where Australia can lead the world and I applaud South32 on their vision. We look forward to partnering with them and discovering what’s possible,” Culbert said.

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