Over the last decade, PIMS Group has grown to become a leading mining services company and has forged a formidable reputation in the industry. We dig deeper into the business’ success story with COO, Bradley Watson.
COAL IS THE GOAL
Coal is a benchmark of Australia’s economy, and it is forecast to remain so well into the future. The history of coal, its use, and mining applications in Australia date back to well before the earliest years of European colonisation.
Based in Mackay, Central Queensland, PIMS Group (PIMS) is a leading provider of mining services to the Australian underground coal industry.
Privately owned, the business was established in 2008 by its four directors, who brought together their diverse professional backgrounds with the aim of providing a higher level of service than was on offer at that time across the industry.
That mindset has not changed in more than 15 years of operation, and from its small beginnings of providing individual professional consulting services, PIMS has grown impressively to become a significant employer with more than 700 staff across seven projects spread throughout Queensland and New South Wales (NSW).
Having historically been providing services in Queensland, where the company’s head office is based, PIMS has continued to grow its footprint methodically in NSW through contract extensions, expansions, and the award of new work.
“Traditionally, as an industry, we have not been great at championing our contribution to growth, employment, and the national economy. There is a lot of negative media regarding the coal mining industry in general, and much of that criticism does not recognise how important our sector really is and the positive outcomes it delivers,” introduces Bradley Watson, COO of PIMS.
Today, the company is incredibly proud of its business and continues to partner with its clients to create new work opportunities, particularly in regional areas where the coal mining industry is vitally important in supporting communities.
“As a business, we are heartened that the profile of our industry is starting to progress for all the right reasons with a focus on the value generated,” he adds.
It is the unwavering goal of PIMS to provide industry-leading support services to stakeholders by living by its five team values of professionalism, loyalty and commitment, integrity, mutual respect, and awareness.
A GUARANTEE OF RELIABILITY
PIMS has worked diligently to become an experienced underground mining contractor specialising in underground coal projects and excelling in delivering quality people, equipment, and innovative solutions for its business partners.
“We have amassed a proud history of developing long-term relationships with our major clients by providing win-win solutions,” Watson excites.
Over the last decade, PIMS has successfully won 20 contracts throughout Queensland and NSW, nine of which were awarded within two years of expanding into the latter region.
“Our reputation of reliability and productivity with our clients permeates our employees,” he asserts.
PIMS offers services across all aspects of underground coal mining, including roadway development, longwall mining, outbye services, conveyor installation, and ventilation and secondary support.
Complemented by equipment hire, engineering, and professional consulting divisions, the company provides clients with end-to-end service delivery comprising everything from discrete work scopes to whole-of-mine services.
A key area of differentiation from its competitors is PIMS’ specialised knowledge of place change mining services, a key growth area for the business and an area where it anticipates the industry will continue to grow as reserves not amenable to longwall mining are reassessed for viability with modern, high-capacity cut and flit mining.
Furthermore, the company has expertly developed a significant amount of in-house, specialised knowledge of the mining equipment, systems, and processes that deliver safe, productive cut and flit systems.
PROVIDING EXPERTISE AND SUPPORT
Most recently, PIMS has been awarded two whole-of-mine contracts to deliver place change mining services. These projects mark the culmination of a strategic decision the business made to build the technical capability in-house to operate the mines and formulate a value proposition for the client who made PIMS the service provider of choice for place change mining.
Simultaneously, the company has worked closely with its clients for both operations to understand their exact requirements and design an engagement that meets every specific need.
“One of the really exciting projects we are working on at the moment is our partnership with Coal Services to develop a virtual reality (VR) training package for application at our place change operations,” Watson elaborates.
“Given that we have recruited team members for these operations with varying levels of exposure to the mining method, we determined early on that we would need to develop a training system that enabled employees to be trained in the mining method and the potential hazards that are unique to this method of mining,” he tells us.
Now nearing the final stages of this project, PIMS is beginning preparation for the roll-out of this initiative across its sites.
Elsewhere, the company has a generous contribution programme that supports several organisations based in the communities in which it operates. From local sporting clubs to the Australian Street Aid Project, the business likes to re-invest in supporting the associations and charities that provide aid for the communities where PIMS’ clients are based and where its employees reside.
“We sponsor a variety of organisations to directly support the regions local to us. Our team is made of Queenslanders and New South Welshmen, so supporting local charities strengthens the communities we were raised in.”
PIMS also supports CQ Rescue, a community-funded rescue helicopter service based in Mackay, which provides a lifeline to anyone, anywhere, at any time across Central and North Queensland. Without CQ Rescue, many lives would be lost or changed forever.
SHAPING A NEW GENERATION OF EXPERTS
PIMS believes that its business plays a vital role in bringing new talent into the industry, and the company has a resolute commitment to supporting people who reside locally to the operations it partners with.
“One aspect of our employment opportunities we have placed particular focus on and are really proud of is the new to industry programmes we run across our projects,” Watson explains.
“Some of these programmes are administered in-house and for others, PIMS partners with clients to offer opportunities and pathways into the industry for people from diverse backgrounds and industries,” he continues.
“It is really heartening to see these employees progress from their first days on a site through to the multi-skilled and professional underground mineworkers they become at the end of their programme.”
FUTURE OF AUSTRALIAN COAL
Resources industry experts predict that global demand for Australian coal will continue to expand well beyond 2030, assuring the future of coal in Australia.
Additionally, the consumption of coal and demand for products is estimated to grow in the coming years, particularly in China, South Korea, and India.
The Australian coal mining industry is committed to continuing to meet demands for enough products internationally, providing local employment opportunities, and further boosting the nation’s economy.
To this day, coal generates billions of dollars for federal and state governments in the form of taxes and royalties, and the coal mining industry employs more than 50,000 Australians, a sector that PIMS is proud to be a part of.
“After a period of rapid growth in 2023, our strategic focus for this year is to optimise our current suite of projects and continue to deliver on our commitments to our clients,” Watson concludes.