Thursday, 23 June 2016 12:08

Telstra hits the mines as acquisition strategy rolls on Featured

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Telstra hits the mines as acquisition strategy rolls on Image courtesy of Victor Habbick, freedigitalphotos.net/images

Telstra has moved further into new territory in the mining industry with the acquisition of mining communications technology services business CBO Telecommunications and the formation of a new business division, Telstra Mining Services.

The big telco says the investments are part of its strategy to create a significant global mining technology product and services business and complement the organic growth of its existing mining industry capabilities.

Telstra has also appointed two global mining experts for its new business, with the acquisition of CBO expected to be completed by the end of June.

Under the deal, Telstra will acquire CBO's network design and consulting services business, which the telco says has capabilities including deep expertise across Wi-Fi and Mesh technologies and the design, build and maintenance of enterprise grade networks used in mine sites.

Martijn Blanken, group managing director, Telstra Global Enterprise and Services, said that Telstra Mining Services was a key pillar of Telstra Global Enterprise and Services’ strategy to build new growth businesses.

“These investments are part of our strategy to create a significant global mining technology product and services business. Telstra is committed to becoming a new driving force for mining in Australia by helping the industry transition to a digital future.”

Blanken said that, alongside CBO’s longstanding relationships with “key mining customers and solid industry reputation”, it also has significant complementary capabilities to support the future growth of Telstra’s mining-focused private LTE and public LTE (LANES) businesses.

According to David Keenan, head of Telstra Global Industries, the decline in global commodity prices is “largely driving a downturn in the resources sector and, as a consequence, sharpening the industry’s focus on reducing costs and maximising production”.

“This downturn has created a once in a lifetime shift, where miners are looking to technology innovation to help them future proof their operations."

Keenan said Telstra Mining Services would be focused on helping its mining customers “drive better business outcomes by significantly improving in-shift staff and asset, such as high bandwidth networks, mobility solutions and software capabilities, through our own productivity”. He also said the new business would “deliver the technology solutions that makes this possible developments, strategic partnerships and in bespoke collaboration with customers”.

Telstra has appointed Jeannette McGill, the recent head of technology and innovation at AngloAmerican Platinum in South Africa, to Telstra Mining Services, with Eric Nettleton appointed to Telstra’s Global Products and Solutions team to work on the next generation of mining technology products.

McGill is well respected for translating technology insights and trends in global markets to strengthen mining business’ value chain and has a wealth of technical and operational mining experience.

Keenan said McGill was well respected for translating technology insights and trends in global markets to strengthen mining business value chain and has a wealth of technical and operational mining experience.

And, Nettleton joins Telstra with extensive mining industry technical experience after leading both the Automation Technology R&D team at Rio Tinto Innovation and the Rio Tinto Centre for Mine Automation at the University of Sydney, developing new technologies for Rio Tinto’s Mine of the Future programme.

According to Keenan, the acquisition of capabilities and expertise in mining is in addition to organically growing Telstra’s mining industry capabilities, “including introducing bespoke products such as the Telstra Resources Network Management solution, which provides remote management of on-site ruggedised industrial data networks”.

“Building on our strong organic foundation, the acquisition of CBO’s network consulting, engineering and services business was the next step to expand our communications business beyond the mine gate.  

“This investment means we can confidently meet the industry’s communication needs at Australian mine sites. With the addition of Jeannette McGill, Eric Nettleton and the CBO team to the existing Telstra Mining Industry team, we have significantly strengthened our mining specific domain expertise.

“This is only the beginning as we will continue to deepen our capabilities to deliver tailored technology innovation to our mining customers, both in Australia and internationally.”

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Peter Dinham is a co-founder of iTWire and a 35-year veteran journalist and corporate communications consultant. He has worked as a journalist in all forms of media – newspapers/magazines, radio, television, press agency and now, online – including with the Canberra Times, The Examiner (Tasmania), the ABC and AAP-Reuters. As a freelance journalist he also had articles published in Australian and overseas magazines. He worked in the corporate communications/public relations sector, in-house with an airline, and as a senior executive in Australia of the world’s largest communications consultancy, Burson-Marsteller. He also ran his own communications consultancy and was a co-founder in Australia of the global photographic agency, the Image Bank (now Getty Images).

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