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Imdex rides mining technology demand wave

Mining technology and services firm Imdex (ASX: IMD) has reported stronger fiscal 2017-18 results and says it is riding a wave of increased demand for its products.
Imdex rides mining technology demand wave Imdex rides mining technology demand wave Imdex rides mining technology demand wave Imdex rides mining technology demand wave Imdex rides mining technology demand wave

Imdex is growing its core mineral intelligence technology business

Staff reporter

Revenue for the latest year was 24% higher at A$218.5 million, EBITDA was up $42.4 million, and net profit after tax jumped from $3.72 million to $21.1 million.
The company said there was a broad-based recovery in the minerals sector globally, with spending up from the trough of 2016, and while rig utilisation rates and exploration expenditure were about half 2012 levels, Imdex sees the need to replace diminishing reserves as an inescapable driver of the recovery.
There has been a dearth of copper and gold discoveries over the past 10 years, and that will require increasing investment, and eventually the mines that are developed will be more complicated and more expensive to develop and operate - all good news for the company.
Over the past financial year commodity pricing had been strong - until US president Donald Trump decided to spark a trade war with China, but despite the Trump effect, Imdex remains positive, with the company enjoying a strong start to 2018-19 by achieving its highest monthly revenue since September 2011.
Its Reflex business, a supplier of advanced subsurface intelligence solutions comprising downhole instrumentation, data management and analytical software for geological modelling, saw equipment demand grow 10% over the past year, and that is typically an early indicator of growth. 
Imdex sees plenty of well-funded companies across the spectrum increasing their budgets, with exploration and development drilling trending upwards, albeit primarily in brownfields areas.
At the same time, companies are still focused on increasing efficiencies and cost reductions, which is where Imdex sees a role in bringing its new technologies into the market.
The company has secured an option over the CoreVIBE and MagHammer technologies, which have the potential to significantly increase drilling productivity and are said to be generating substantial interest. 
CoreVIBE is claimed to increase average diamond drilling productivity rates by some 30%, minimising hole deviation, reducing core blockages and extending bit life while the less advanced MagHammer is essentially RC drilling without compressed air that eliminates dust and does not limit hole depth.
The company continues to spend heavily on research and development, including its Imdex Mining Solutions drill and blast project to "provide greater exposure to the more sustainable mining phase". 
Working with the likes of explosives maker Orica, Imdex wants to transform the way the industry undertakes the drill and blast process, using digital and automated technologies to improve its understanding of quality of the mined material and minimising mining dilution, to improve grade and revenue. 
"The blast-hole environment is an area of mining that has not progressed significantly for decades and is one of the big operational improvements we see in the future," managing director Bernie Ridgeway said.
He said Imdex offered a mix of integrated end-to-end solutions that were "unique to our market", across its Reflex and AMC business units and its emerging technologies.
Imdex shares dropped 6.4% yesterday to close at A$1.16, capitalising the company at $430 million. It had net cash of around $7 million, and is planning to invest heavily in new technologies again this year.

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