Business

Engineering start-up's £500,000 funding boost to develop mining cleantech

At the funding announcement are (from left) Ian Dawson (co-founder of Rock Extraction), Sian McLaughlin (investment manager at Clarendon Fund Managers), Mervyn McCall (private investor), Jon Houston (co-founder Rock Extraction). Picture: Philip Magowan/Press Eye

LISBURN engineering company Rock Extraction has secured £500,000 funding to further develop the Volt 100K, an innovative rock-breaking tool offering a cleantech alternative to explosives for the global mining industry.

Founded by Ian Dawson, Jon Houston, and Steve Jackman with the support of Mark Paton from the banking sector, the company designed the Volt 100K to limit the need for explosives, and the environmental and practical issues that arise from their use.

The new breaking and extraction tool is more precise than existing hydraulic hammers and aims to reduce disruption for areas surrounding mines and quarries.

The funding round was led by local business angels after the company sought investment at a recent HBAN quarterly pitch event, one of 20 such events held over the last four years.

The round was matched by Co-Fund NI and totalled £500,000, which the company will use to further progress the prototype, extend its patent portfolio and manufacture the first run of production units.

HBAN, a joint initiative of Invest NI, InterTradeIreland and Enterprise Ireland, dedicated to the all-island promotion of business angel investment, allows companies to pitch to angel investors for funding.

Currently there are more than 130 registered members in Northern Ireland who have invested nearly £13 million across more than 80 deals.

Ian Dawson, co-founder of Rock Extraction said: “The investment readiness part of our engagement with HBAN really helped to refine and articulate our investment proposition. The funds from the angel investors and Co-Fund NI will give us a real boost to develop our product and progress the manufacturing process.

“With the environmental impacts, danger and disruption caused by the use of explosives in mines, we are committed to developing cleaner and safer alternatives and our technology is revolutionary for the industry.

“Our growth plans are firmly in place and this investment will help us to bring the product to market, scale our business and expand our sales team.”

Sian McLaughlin, investment manager at Clarendon Fund Managers, added: “We are thrilled to be supporting Rock Extraction at an exciting stage in development of their innovative product.

“The cleantech industry is booming and there is more demand than ever for cleaner alternatives for large companies. As experts in their field, Jon and Ian are perfectly positioned to develop this product and bring it to market with impressive growth potential.

“The investment was further strengthened by attracting local HBAN business angels with international experience of bringing innovative products to global markets who can support the company to rapidly scale.”

Business