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Australia: 'Refuge chambers lead the way to pushing portable crop production above-ground'

"We saw numerous opportunities in CEA for MineARC that perfectly aligned with our areas of expertise, not only underground but also above ground as well. Broadening innovation internally on vertical farming, we potentially see a lot more business growth," says Holger Plange, Business development manager at MineARC Systems.

Holger Plange

As a global supplier in controlled environments, MineARC is a well-known provider of refuge chambers for various mining uses. MineARC has now adapted their established technology used to create controlled environments for humans and applied it to controlled environments in other areas like, medical marijuana production facilities and more recently, agriculture.

With a focus on client-led innovation, MineARC Systems plans to further expand its production of controlled environments, catering to diverse industries and applications.

Targeting remote communities
The mining industry in Australia presents its unique challenges, as Holger explains, particularly regarding remote work camps and their reliance on imported food supplies. Holger goes, "Given we have a population of about 26 million people, about 28% of them live and work in rural communities where they serve their controlled mining sites, that comes with diverse communities and have a lot of socio-economic problems."

Recognizing the need, MineARC has further developed its container-styled controlled environments to offer a sustainable alternative to fresh produce imports, particularly to rural areas where personnel are needed to remain on site for extended periods. Through creating a portable vertical farm, it provided a solution to mine sites allowing them to reduce their site's reliance on imported fresh goods for their personnel.

A container farm model designed by MineArc

Product portfolio
Spending a lot of effort on research, development and innovation - Holger points out that the company collaborates with agronomists, universities, and other research organizations to further develop their product offerings for their clients. Holger explains, "Working with universities and the R&D community, we have been able to expand our crop recipes, as well as leveraging partnerships and grants."

Looking ahead, Holger foresees a promising future, with MineARC continuing to drive innovation. "I think there will be a diverse landscape of vertical farming applications, catering to both urban and remote communities. It will become increasingly important to collaborate and adapt to the demographics. We don't want to invest in a massive factory and then sell off the produce. On the contrary, MineARC will be the tech provider instead, making sure there's a seamless integration for the grower." By remaining at the forefront of grower technology, it allows MineARC to provide flexibility to their clients by expanding on the technology provided, according to their client's needs.

Even though Australia might be quite the travel for some companies, that doesn't limit them in collaboration with interested parties. "We would love to work together with people that have been in the industry for a while."

For more information:
MineARC Systems
Holger Plange, Business development manager
[email protected]