Weir buys AI mining tech firm Motion Metrics

Glasgow-based global engineering and mining giant Weir Group said on Friday it has agreed to acquire Motion Metrics, a Canada-based global mining technology business, for an initial consideration of £89 million in cash.

Up to a further £59 million will be payable in cash by Weir at the end of 2024, depending on revenue and profit performance. 

“Motion Metrics is the market leading developer of innovative Artificial Intelligence (AI) and 3D rugged Machine Vision Technology used in mines worldwide,” said Weir.

“Its technology helps miners increase safety, efficiency and sustainability of their operations.

“As part of the agreement, Motion Metrics Vancouver headquarters will become Weir’s global centre for excellence in AI and Machine Vision technology.

“Motion Metrics applications are highly complementary to Weir’s product portfolio.

“It will join the ESCO division reflecting the early adoption of its technology in ground engaging tools (GET) where ESCO is an established global leader.

“Motion Metrics AI and Machine Vision capabilities are expected to be leveraged across the whole mining value chain served by the Weir Group.”

In addition to its headquarters in Vancouver, Motion Metrics has offices in Chile, Australia, Brazil, Russia and South Africa. 

Motion Metrics employs 125 people focused largely on research and development, alongside sales and field support.

Motion Metrics founder Shahram Tafazoli will continue to lead the business when it joins the Weir Group, overseeing the new Weir centre for excellence in AI and Machine Vision technology.

Weir’s existing Canadian operations employ 600 people.

Weir CEO Jon Stanton said: “The combination of Weir and Motion Metrics will be extremely powerful and reflects our ambition to play a leading role in mining’s technology transformation.

“Motion Metrics not only provides access to innovative and highly relevant technology that will accelerate growth in our ESCO division, but it also brings world-class expertise in AI, rugged 3D Machine Vision technology and data science that is applicable across the group.

“This acquisition is fully aligned with our strategy and our commitment to grow ahead of our markets, expand our margins and significantly reduce our customers’ environmental footprint.”   

Tafazoli said: “Motion Metrics was established to harness the power of AI and Machine Vision to help the global mining industry make its essential transition to safer, more productive and sustainable operations.

“Having proven our technology and grown rapidly over recent years, the time is right for us to accelerate our development as part of the Weir Group, which brings access to every major mining region in the world, from pit to plant.

“I am also excited to establish in Canada a global centre of excellence for AI and Machine Vision for mining applications, reflecting Canada’s domain expertise in both mining and machine intelligence.”

Andrew Neilson, Division President of Weir ESCO, said: “This is a perfect partnership.

“Our customers want more digital solutions to help them improve safety, efficiency and sustainability and providing these is a key part of our growth strategy.

“Motion Metrics brings patent-protected technology that reduces expensive downtime in GET applications, helping improve ESCO’s differentiated technology offering even further.

“The additional capability in AI and Machine Vision will also accelerate our expansion into adjacent markets including developing smart eco-system offerings encompassing the load and haul operations of our customers.”