Hitachi investing A$1.25bn in Australian ‘social innovation’ to 2020

07 Dec 2017

Hitachi has committed A$1.25 billion to ‘social innovation’ projects in Australia to 2020, and has already invested around A$875 million in 2016–17, primarily to mining technology projects, as reported by ARN and Australian Mining.

Hitachi defines social innovation as ‘using innovative technologies and business solutions to address the key trends and challenges facing society’. The Japanese machinery and technology company made the announcement at its Social Innovation Forum held in Brisbane on 29 November. The forum featured digital transformation in mining and agriculture.

Atsushi Konishi, Managing Director of Hitachi’s Oceania region, told ARN that Hitachi focused the bulk of its A$875 million investment on developing digital mining technology. Innovations developed in Australia will then be exported globally.

‘There are several large mining companies looking at Australia to implement new digital technologies in order to then replicate them in other regions of the world,’ says Konishi. ‘Embracing smart technology including digitisation and Internet of Things (IoT) in the mining industry is imperative for Australia to maintain its leadership position.’

Hitachi Australia predicts that by 2030, Australia’s mining industry will be mostly operated by autonomous machines, with mining operations connected to central analytics hubs via a fully integrated IoT. Such technology would allow decisions to be made remotely from mining sites.

Hitachi Australia employed an additional 2,000 people in 2017, increasing its current Australian workforce to 3,650. ARN and Australian Mining report that the company is on-track to reach A$3.75 billion in revenues by 2020, three-times its 2015 total.