Conveyors, Transfers, Chutes, Equipment & Technology, Mining and Heavy Industries

Transmin pursues innovation ahead of big 2024


Transmin is chasing an innovative approach to its operations to tackle persistent problems facing manufacturers and clients.

Labour shortages and increased material costs have been persistent problems for bulk handling clients and manufacturers across Australia.

Manufacturers are also looking for new revenue streams within traditional and emerging markets, including rare minerals and iron ore mining.

ABHR spoke to Transmin’s innovation manager, Phil Heckley, about how the company adapts to these challenges.

Emerging markets

Rare minerals are set to be one of the world’s most significant growth sectors, with the US Government predicting 400-600 per cent growth as the world transitions to clean energy.

Transmin has established an innovation department to develop products for these new markets and applications.

Heckley said this was because critical minerals present new materials handling issues that haven’t been widely experienced in the industry.

“Our previous experiences with critical minerals projects such as rare earths, lithium, copper and nickel, allow us to learn from and adapt our products with each project,” he said.

“We also apply conservative design principles to allow for a degree of uncertainty for new materials handling challenges.” 

Transmin has had to adjust to the nuances of the emerging markets. Key differences include lower production rates than iron ore and gold markets and more chemical processes in the plant design of rare mineral markets.

Heckley said Transmin’s product line was suited to help clients in these markets enhance their operations.

“Transmin can leverage its understanding of how to provide reliable and efficient machines from heavy-duty, high-volume applications to heavy-duty, low-volume applications,” he said.

“Our “Package Plants” product vertical is also seeing growth in demand from chemical dosing systems used in critical minerals processes.”

Future plans

Heckley said electrification is one of the biggest challenges facing them in the coming years, particularly in underground mining, as companies decarbonise their operations.

Research companies, including McKinsey and Company, predict the sector could need to reduce its emissions by as much as 85 per cent by 2050.

The International Council on Mining and Metals believe most of the world’s largest mining companies have committed to net zero direct and indirect carbon emissions by 2050 through electrification and sustainable practices.

“There is a big push in the industry for electrification, particularly in underground mining,” Heckley said.

“Transmin is looking at ways it can help clients in these transitions.”

Behind the scenes, Transmin is working to adapt its equipment to more mining sectors like the dry tailings space.

Transmin’s low-profile feeder (LPF) has been used to transport tailings filter cakes from 5m wide plate and frame filters, which the company believes are some of the largest filters on the planet.

This innovation has overseas companies interested in how the LPF can be converted to suit the sector.

“Tailings management will become more important as the public’s willingness to accept tailings dam failures and risks will evaporate,” Heckley said.

“Transmin is ideally placed to help our clients with existing and innovative tailings management products and practices to minimise this corporate risk.

“Our LPF technology has also been incorporated into mobile dump trucks, which allows for thin layer placement of dewatered tailings within the tailings storage facilities, which assists in further drying and consolidating tailings and maximising tailings storage facilities capacity.”

Industries nationwide, including bulk handling, have faced increasing cost trends, including material cost.

The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) Producer Price Indexes has shown increases of 3.9 per cent over the past 12 months. The ABS has put the price increases down to labour shortages and increased manufacturing costs.

Heckley said productivity improvements will help to mitigate increasing cost trends.

“Transmin is looking to add value to its clients by making our products more “user-friendly” improving operability and reducing equipment maintenance costs,” he said.

“If a machine is going to have a higher capital cost, then it needs to return a lower operating cost – which is what Transmin is focusing on.”


Transmin is preparing for a solid upcoming year after a strong 2023.

Heckley said innovation of its existing and new products was critical to the company’s plans to combat labour shortages and material costs.

“If we are not innovating and evolving our products, our clients expect us to help them do their job better, and we take that responsibility seriously,” he said.

“Innovation can be used to make existing products cheaper, but there is an inherent limit to what cost improvements can be made.

“However, there is no inherent limit as to what value can be gained by innovating to create new and improved≈products that can increase productivity, improve safety and solve new problems.”

Heckley said the upcoming year is forecasted to be vital for Transmin, with new projects set to market.

“We encourage our existing and new clients to speak with our innovation team to collaborate on finding new solutions to their problems,” he said.

“We have innovative projects in the works that will hopefully meet and exceed our client requirements. 2024 is going to be an exciting year for Transmin.”

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