Intertek (FTSE: ITRK) opened The Intertek Minerals Global Centre of Excellence, a world-class minerals laboratory in Maddington, southeast of Perth, on Thursday August 26, 2021. Intertek is a leading Total Quality Assurance provider to industries throughout the world with a network of more than 60 laboratories and offices in 25 countries. The newly opened will be Intertek’s largest, at 20,000m2.

Previously, Intertek’s facilities and its 500+ employees in Perth were distributed across 11 sites throughout Maddington. This recent move will house Intertek’s staff in one location along with updated, state-of-the-art technology for assaying.

The upgrades to technology, mostly through robotics and automation, will not only increase the capacity of The Centre but also increase the safety and wellbeing of staff. Assaying and analysis often involve the use of corrosive reagents and high heat, and robotics will significantly reduce the exposure and potential impact of this to workers.

According to Intertek Minerals’ senior vice president, John Fowler, this will boost safety and productive capacity in a market with a growing demand for testing services, among other mining related services. The Centre will be able to analyse more than 2.5m samples per year.

“The new centre consolidates our Perth operations into what is Intertek Minerals’ largest global laboratory, and in fact one of the world’s largest and most technologically advanced minerals laboratories,” Mr Fowler said.

“Intertek Minerals is a leader in automated and robotic laboratory technology, being the largest commercial operator of these systems globally for the minerals industry and this new centre is testament to this with the introduction of several new systems.

“Our new Minerals Global Centre of Excellence showcases the company’s expertise and features both existing and new automated systems across all areas of sample preparation and minerals testing.”

The Centre’s robots are programmed to perform standard routines, and able to operate 24 hours a day processing and assaying large volumes of ore. Despite the growing emphasis on robotics, bespoke processes requested for smaller batches are still done manually where needed. Gold, for example, can be flame assayed menially, or assayed through Chrysos Photonassay, developed by the CSIRO. The Chrysos takes minutes as opposed to hours, is non-destructive and produces no potentially harmful waste.

This decrease in waste is also for environmental protection. COVID19 has intensified the world’s focus on innovative and sustainable mining practices, and several sustainable measures have been built into The Centre, such as the 3,000 solar panels on the roof which will contribute 30% of the energy needed to run the facility. Waste is processed through a purpose-built plant, and there are water saving initiatives in place.

Intertek has significant demand for the testing of materials from around the world, including large volumes of gold from Papua New Guinea and throughout Africa, where exploration, investment and projects in metal are experiencing impressive levels of growth. The centre was officially opened at a ceremony attended by WA Minister for Mines and Petroleum, Bill Johnston.