A new A$20 million national industry growth centre headquartered in Brisbane has opened and will help Queensland’s mining equipment, technology and services (METS) sector grow sustainably on the world stage, METS Ignited reports. “At a time when innovation is vital to the competitiveness of the global mining industry, the potential for transformation in this sector is enormous and exciting for METS firms.“With Queensland renowned internationally for its mining innovation, the federal government’s industry growth centre (IGC) initiative provides the state with an opportunity to capitalise on its unique strengths, build export capacity and create technology-based jobs.”The METS sector is a significant part of the Australian economy and is the fifth largest exporter. Australia-wide, the sector generated approximately A$90 billion in gross revenue in 2012.METS expertise developed in Australia is now exported to the world with services covering the whole life-of-mine activities, from exploration and feasibility to design, construction, operations and energy, and finally to closure and rehabilitation. The skills, products and services developed in the mining industry are also finding application in other fields such as oil and gas and agriculture.METS is a major employer and income producer for Queensland with the sector’s revenue estimated at A$21 billion or 4–5% of the total Queensland economy. Queensland has more than 400 operating METS companies, employing about 60,000 people. Over half of these companies already export products and services.The Australian Government announced that it had chosen Queensland as the location for the METS IGC as part of the Australian Government’s A$225 million Innovation and Competitiveness Agenda. Headed by Chair Elizabeth Lewis-Gray, the not-for-profit METS IGC will link hubs established around Australia to unlock commercial opportunities and strengthen our national advantage.At the launch of the centre in October, State Development and Natural Resources Minister, Dr Anthony Lynham MP said, “This is great news for our METS sector and our mining industry, and why the Queensland has committed A$6 million over four years to support the centre based in the state.”The federal government will provide A$3.5 million per year over four years to support the operation of the METS IGC in Queensland. The state government will provide A$6 million plus staffing support to the centre located at the Queensland University of Technology’s Gardens Point campus. Working collaboratively with the Queensland Government, the goals of the METS IGC are to:Develop a clear and shared industry visionPromote new and improved innovation processesGrow the METS industry brand locally, nationally and globallyImprove industry competitiveness through appropriate regulation reform.The Queensland Government expects the METS IGC to fuel collaboration on new solutions to the mining industry’s challenges, including reducing production costs and innovative approaches to mine site rehabilitation.Queensland already has the advantage of well-established mining clusters including CRC Mining, CRC ORE, and CSIRO Queensland Centre for Advanced Technologies—more than 200 mining companies and more than a dozen industry associations and universities collaborating to foster innovation.Through a combination of home grown innovation, significant private investment and government assistance, Queensland has developed an international reputation as an industry leader in a variety of METS fields and enjoys a growing number of international trade relationships. While achievements in the sector to date have been impressive, challenges still lie ahead, especially the impact of the current mining downturn on both mining companies and their METS suppliers.To meet these challenges, integrated and transformational innovation within the mining industry is required to reduce operational costs, increase productivity and generally set the industry up for future economic challenges for the sector. This issue is particularly relevant to Queensland and Australia where production costs are high in comparison to key international competitors.“In order to increase our share of the global marketplace, all METS sector participants must innovate, collaborate and translate these solutions to commercial, environmental and social benefits.“Both the Queensland Government’s A$180 million Advance Queensland initiative and the METS IGC provide pathways for turning brilliant ideas into commercially viable products and services. It is in this kind of business environment that the creation and commercialisation of good ideas can grow and flourish.”Picture from the official launch of the METS Growth Centre at the Queensland University of Technology. (L-R) Dr Anthony Lynham, MP, Minister for State Development and Minister for Natural Resources and Mines; Ross Vasta, MP, Member for Bonner; Professor Peter Coaldrake, Vice Chancellor, QUT; Elizabeth Lewis-Gray, Chair, METS Ignited Australia; The Hon. Christopher Pyne, MP, Federal Minister for Industry, Innovation and Science; and Professor Rachel Parker, QUT.