Extinction events are often cataclysmic, but are also the catalysts for change. Ecosystems rebound and the survivors adapt to fill vacant niches and exploit new ways to thrive and prosper. The current downturn in the mining and exploration industry is no less of a global extinction event, as we see many companies disappearing, and perhaps rightly so, as the markets adjust and the strongest, or most creative, survive.
One of the interesting concepts to arise is coming from Perth in Western Australia, where a forward thinking group has established ‘MineSpace’. What they are offering are affordable working spaces and, soon, a novel way to access geoscientific software. Although these shared workspaces are not a new idea, they are unusual in the exploration and mining realm.
This is an ideal reaction to the massive layoff of highly qualified individuals, which has seen a rise in the number of professionals establishing themselves as self-employed contractors. Any solo endeavour requires some planning and usually cash upfront to be a success, but the geological sciences require a lot of expensive equipment and software to complete even the most basic study, which is a stumbling block to many.
Adrian Large, Co-Founder of MineSpace, had this to say to Geology For Investors;
I was researching the effects of shared office spaced in California at the start of 2014, and it was apparent that we could apply this to the mining industry but at a different level. While collaborative spaces are focussed on start-up businesses, and a mixtures of skills at different levels, the mining industry is an expansive industry, and there isn’t any reason why we couldn’t focus on the ecosystem of the mining value chain.
With their space in an attractive area of western Perth, MineSpace offer everything from full time office leases to simple ‘hot desks’ and meeting rooms on a pay as you go basis. They are also offering several services to assist their resident clients, from taxation to human resources, map making to mine engineering.
Adrian and his team have perhaps worked hardest on tackling another big expense – software. As geoscientists, we create maps, plans or models for almost every project, which spans several software programs. Each one of these can cost thousands of dollars for a single licence, and often require annual maintenance fees, placing them firmly out of reach of the individual and thus stifling development. But MineSpace is changing that, by offering key software through an online portal that charges as you use it. Programs such as GeoSoft (for creating maps), ioGas (geochemical analysis) and MapInfo (modelling software) will all be available at discounted rates.
To extend our reach beyond the physical space, we took a look at one of the other biggest costs…which is software. It has taken over a year to secure their involvement, but we have put together a virtual portal of some of the most used geoscience software in the world where users can pay as they go per month. It is being launched in Australia on March 3. This software portal will continue to expand it’s products, and we are planning some very ambitious and industry defining methods over the next 3 years.
The Meek Shall Inherit The Earth
When the dinosaurs died out, they were not immediately replaced by elephants and blue whales, but by a myriad of smaller species that eventually evolved into these giant and successful forms. MineSpace is offering a working solution for many of these surviving entrepreneurs and specialists, and will likely be the cradle for some future major corporations and discoveries. By offering affordable solutions, they are stimulating their local economy and encouraging a steady comeback. We hope to see similar initiatives all over the world.
Visit MineSpace at www.minespace.com.au.