2010’s Chilean mining accident and the more recent Thai cave rescue mission have captivated the world, bringing the incredible, life-saving capabilities of underground technology to the global stage.

For the team at MineARC Systems – the newly announced 2018 Telstra Western Australian Business of the Year – developing technology designed for use in such acute emergency situations is always underpinned by the hope it will never need to be used.

“Back in the mid to late ‘90s there were multiple fatalities in the underground mining industry and something really needed to be done. Our product grew out of a dreadful situation where we could invent something that could save lives and those workers could go home to their families at night,” said Dion Smith, Sales and Marketing Director at MineARC Systems.

“Today, 40,000 people rely on our product day in, day out. It really is a product that, in a bad situation, saves lives.”

Since 1999, MineARC has been manufacturing and supplying emergency refuge chambers to the mining, tunnelling and disaster relief industries. Designed for use in situations where evacuation is no longer safe nor practical, the chambers provide trapped miners with breathable air – free from dangerous gases – and extend victims’ likelihood of survival from hours to days.

“The moment one of our chambers was used in an emergency for the first time, it provided justification for the very existence of our business,” says Dion Smith, Sales and Marketing Director. That chamber saved nine lives. And over the course of the next two decades, MineARC’s technology has gone on to prevent many more deaths around the world.

Its unwavering commitment to safety and ambition to innovate as industrial landscapes evolve is what saw MineARC take home the title of WA Business of the Year. Genuine pioneers, judges believed they have effectively set the pace and standard for safety in numerous industries worldwide.

And MineARC wasn’t the only business making waves at this year’s awards. The other category winners of the 2018 Telstra Western Australian Business Awards were:

Perth Cat Hospital – Emerging & Energised Award: Opened in 2016 by D.r Martine van Boeijen, this cat-only hospital was 10 years in the making. Everything from the waiting room to wellness programs have been specifically designed to lower cats’ and staff stress levels.

Pachamama – Small & Succeeding Awar: With two rapidly growing childcare centres in the Perth Hills, Pachamama is a home-away-from-home for children, which uses art and nature to encourage younger generations to ‘think outside the square’.

Earbus Foundation of Western Australia – Social Change Maker Award: This charity puts teams of doctors, nurses, audiologists and health workers on a bus and takes them into regional and remote schools for a week at a time, where they screen, treat, manage and report on the ear health of thousands of Aboriginal children.

The Telstra Business Awards are an exclusive platform to help businesses thrive in the future, by providing recognition, trusted advice and by opening their doors to an exclusive network.

All 2018 Western Australian winners will join other state and territory category winners at the national 2018 Telstra Australian Business Awards in Melbourne on Thursday, 20 September 2018.

Visit the Telstra Business Awards website for further information about the winners.