In the mining-centric land of Western Australia, Sam Griffiths, Group Business Development Manager at Aerison, tells us about the company supplying turnkey engineering and construction solutions across the industry.
SUSTAINING THE MINES
“Western Australia (WA) is a very mining-centric land, and we have had an amazing run.”
The words of Sam Griffiths, Group Business Development Manager at Aerison, sum up the recent past for the classic industry rooted in the foundations of the region.
Aerison operates as a provider of multi-discipline industrial services to the minerals and mining, oil and gas, non-process infrastructure and utilities sectors.
Founded in Perth, Western Australia in 1988, Aerison has grown over the years from a specialist environmental engineering company to a broad-based multi-disciplined engineering and construction business that self-performs EPC, engineering and design, construction and maintenance services for various industries and clients across Australia.
“We in WA have lived in an incubator and have almost become this perfect storm. From a business side of things, we have been in a case where it’s an imperfect economic cycle where there is an extremely high demand and a relatively low supply which only does one thing to price, and as a beneficiary of that it’s been very positive”Sam Griffiths, Group Business Development Manager, Aerison
“WA’s economic output grew over 2.5 percent in the year just finished, with over 50 percent or about $190 billion of the state’s output generated from the mining and construction sectors. So, we, being a constructor supporting the mining industry, are obviously a beneficiary and contributor to that.”
WA contributes over half of Australia’s national export revenue through the mining and petroleum sectors, a significant amount considering the region’s population of only 2.5 million.
“This little state that we are in really is a complete anomaly. It’s an outlier to the rest of the nation and to many other countries worldwide. The impact of high demand from countries such as China for both iron ore and critical battery minerals has been phenomenal. That’s the good side, lots of demand and lots of opportunity.”
On the flip side, Aerison has also experienced a strain on labour as well as access to materials and equipment coming from offshore manufacturers. Ultimately, however, these challenges have not slowed down the company’s steady growth.
EXPERTISE IN THE INDUSTRY
Operating from its head office in Perth in WA, Aerison provides project services and supply equipment to projects across Australia. Currently, the company has established projects in Queensland, South Australia, and in the north of WA, backed by a history and reputation for having undertaken projects across the whole of the country.
“Aerison is an engineering and construction company,” Griffiths elaborates. “Our competencies really line up with doing work from the front end, such as scoping and investigative studies, through to detailed design and equipment supply using our fabrication facilities.
“We then also go to site and deliver the installation works through our projects or maintenance teams. We have a team of around 450 direct trade and site workers, and another 170 office-based and engineering staff, totalling around 600 personnel throughout the company operations.”
It is not only Aerison’s reputation that stands it apart from competition in the region and industry. The company’s defining business model is its direct delivery approach, that sees Aerison undertake projects on-site and with its own personnel.
“There are two key aspects of our business that set us apart,” Griffiths explains. “Firstly, we offer a turnkey engineer-procure-construct model which is all in-house. We have our own aforementioned personnel and recruitment teams, and this offer of a one-stop-shop solution is a key differentiator in the sector.
“The other aspect, and one that really speaks to our namesake, is that we make engineered solutions that minimise the impacts of industry on the environment through our environmental solutions division.”
The name ‘Aerison’ is in fact made up of two Latin words: ‘aer’ (air) and ‘sonos’ (noise), and speaks to the company’s commitment towards producing solutions that control environmental pollution.
“Customers come to us to design and supply them with industrial equipment, and to investigate solutions to help them operate effectively, but they also come to us to meet their environmental obligations. This is a significant part of our history and will continue to form and strengthen the future growth of the business,” Griffiths tells us.
Aerison’s CEO, Giuseppe Leone reflects on what sets Aerison apart.
“We are a service business, providing professional consultancy and construction delivery services on technical and challenging projects,” he says. “Because of this, our people are incredibly important to us. Our operating systems provide the tools to effectively run the business, however it is our people and the culture of working as one team across the whole business that really drives our success.”
Aerison has a really strong sense of safety and caution when it comes to site work. The company operates in high-risk environments and invests significantly in its people when it comes to skills, guidance and training, as well as having its very own development programme to support this.
“Our business partners are equally crucial to the business,” Griffiths says. “We rely on the positive, long-standing relationships that we have with our supply partners, and this collaboration between us provides support and strength when it comes to operating at peak capacity.”
HELPING SITES ACROSS WESTERN AUSTRALIA
Aerison prides itself on providing solutions that better the state and operation of sites as well as lessening the environmental impact of such activities. Aerison is currently undertaking a variety of projects, the first of which is a 40 megalitre (ML) desalination plant.
“This is a fantastic project,” Griffiths says. “The plant desalinates the equivalent of 16 Olympic-sized swimming pools-worth of water each day, to be used in mine process facilities. We are delivering this as an engineering, procurement and construction (EPC), full turnkey project that is going ahead right now.”
WESTERN TURNER SYNCLINE PHASE TWO
The second, relating to the mining industry directly, is the Western Turner Syncline Phase Two, being undertaken on behalf of the Anglo-Australian multinational mining corporation Rio Tinto.
Essentially, the project aims to increase the through-put of the ore processing plant at the Mount Tom Price Mine, an iron ore mine located in WA.
“Various upgrades to the materials handling infrastructure need to take place in the processing plant,” Griffiths affirms. “Our scope on the project is for mechanical and electrical works, with our workforce peaking at 280, operating inside and out of plant shutdowns.
“There are some really large lifts, long conveyors and big pieces of technical equipment that need maintaining, and we are very proud of this project.”
Moving away from the mining sphere, Aerison was recently successful in its bid for works as a part of the state government programme Metronet. Consisting of multiple rail infrastructure projects based in the Perth metropolitan region, Metronet is an exciting portfolio that speaks to Aerison’s involvement in the public infrastructure sector.
“One of the METRONET projects is the construction of 56 new high speed passenger rail cars for our local metropolitan network,” Griffiths explains. “Aerison is supplying rail car components such as pantographs, battery boxes, cabin structures and couplers.
“This is particularly exciting, as we underwent a very stringent quality process to obtain accreditation for European standard fabrication, EN 15085. This allowed Aerison to provide the unique capability to fabricate equipment for railway rolling stock based locally in Western Australia. We have a high-quality fabrication workforce who produce exceptional work for the mineral and energy sectors which is now also great to offer to the Metronet infrastructure project!”
In the energy space, Aerison’s activity revolves around business collaboration and providing customers with progressive energy solutions.
“There is an energy transformation taking place globally, and we are seeing a shift away from the typical thermal fired power stations; what’s coming in place is energy storage,” Griffiths highlights. “Aerison is working with an Australian energy network provider, to design and instal storage systems that balance renewable power generation.”
Another infrastructure project Aerison is carrying out is with Transurban, one of the world’s largest toll-road operators who are the incumbent for a number of main tunnels and road networks in Brisbane.
“Our agreement with Transurban focuses on the maintenance and improvements of mechanical and electrical infrastructure including noise attenuation and air ventilation in the tunnels throughout the road network, caused by vehicular activity and traffic tunnels,” Griffiths says.
All iron ore and alternative mines produce substantial amounts of dust. When rocks are crushed and screened, tonnes of dry particle matter emit into the atmosphere, and Aerison is aiming to help mines combat this.
“Solving the dust problem isn’t about spraying down roads, Aerison instead works on numerous projects where we have built custom-designed dust collector bag houses,” Griffiths informs us. “We have recently completed the design, construction and/or installation of five baghouse projects. Aerison provided assessment and design advice based on the environmental conditions of the site air then completed the works to ensure environmental compliance and improved productivity was achieved.”
Aerison has successfully undertaken a variety of different projects and continues to do so in the WA region. For Griffiths, the future aims of the company revolve around two key aspects of operation.
“We have already secured our budgeted revenue for the next 12 months,” he informs us. “So, for us our core focus is to deliver on the promises and commitments that we have made.
“Although we have enjoyed and endured growth in the last few years it has been sustainable, it has occurred at a steady pace, and we are not looking for dramatic leaps and bounds when it comes to growth. We simply want to ensure that we deliver and hit our set targets.
“But of course, we are also reminded every single day of the nature of the environment that we operate in. Structured engineering involves heavy machinery, working in a space that is high-risk for our employees, and so safety is paramount for us.
“We are absolutely focused on safety and that comes before anything else; it is something that we think about every single day.”