EarningsAs you know, I was at Hexagon’s user conference, HxGN LIVE, last week, where mining was featured as an emerging market for Hexagon’s offerings. Hexagon’s team told investors that mining is an underserved industry, technologically, and that even in times when new mines aren’t being opened at any rapid rate, older mines will invest in the types of tech Hexagon will create and acquire.

Hexagon and Trimble have both been snapping up companies that have to do with various aspects of exploring, exploiting and managing mines, and DS bought Gemcom in 2012. It’s clearly a hot area for acquisitions — and today, Trimble did it again.

Trimble announced that it has acquired Mining Information Systems (MIS), a privately-held company in Perth, Australia that offers mining-specific enterprise-level information management capabilities. MIS’s solutions enable mine production reporting and accounting, ore tracking and stockpile management, geological and mineral resource data management, and safety and workforce reporting.

According to Trimble, one reason it acquired MIS is because its MMRS system can integrate data or many different types and creation mechanisms, and across functional areas areas within the mine. Trimble’s geospatial solutions provide accurate positioning; the company believes the combination will increased mine productivity “through the aggregation, analysis and presentation of information”. Financial terms were not disclosed.

I am still learning about mining. It’s an incredibly complicated world of drilling bore holes, running ground-penetrating scans and examining geological data to try to determine where deposits lie, often deep underground. Once you’ve got some level of data, you need to model how to safely carve away layers of earth to get at the valuable iron, diamonds, coal or whatever you’re after. As you remove ore, you need to track what’s coming out (both for financial reporting and to ensure that there’s no theft) and shore up the remaining earth. It’s road/rail modeling and construction, mine design, water management, road safety, personnel tracking and safety, ginormous trucks and normal-sized human beings. It’s a world apart that can benefit from the types of solutions used in all sorts of industrial applications, but at a scale (and remoteness) that can make traditional IT solutions impractical.

Stay tuned — we’ll learn about mining together.