Interview: Austmine Champion of Innovation 2019 – Steve Durkin!

by | 5 Feb, 2020

In May 2019, Steve Durkin, Managing Director of Safescape won the prestigious Austmine Champion of Innovation Award 2019. Steve is the owner, Founder and key driver of Safescape. Holding a Bachelor of Engineering in Mining and started his company in 2009. Steve’s innovative mind and deep passion for mining played a large part in the development of Safescape’s Laddertube.  Throughout Steve’s career, he has continually challenged the status quo focusing on innovative inventions to improve safety in the METS industry.

Steve was chosen by the judges as the very deserving recipient of this year’s award, because of how he has embraced and inspired innovation across his career. He has done this both within his own world-leading company, Safescape, and also within others he has partnered with and mentored. He is a proven, long-term innovator, with impressive commercial success with his innovations.

We caught up with Steve post-win to get his thoughts on the award, innovation in our industry and what’s next for Steve and Safescape!

What does it mean to you to win the Austmine Champion of Innovation Award?  

A great number of Austmine members are known worldwide for their innovation in everything from product to service and business model. To receive this accolade among such a proven and respected peer group is pretty special. Of course the successful commercialisation of Safescape’s innovations comes down to a much wider group of committed professionals. The Safescape team, obviously, but also our supply partners and of course our customers, especially those willing to try new ideas before they reach full commercialisation status. I believe this award is recognition for the values we stand for, as much as it is the products we deliver. Our focus on delivering improvements in safety through high levels of service, all the while saving companies money is at the root of why Safescape is a successful business.

Why do you think your submission stood out to the judges?

I believe my submission stood out because through everything I and Safescape have accomplished, innovation is at the heart of the success. There is a real dedication to innovation with the continual development of new products that challenge the current methods. I think the word ‘innovation’ can be used casually, however throughout my career, I really try to champion innovation every day.

Why are you passionate about the mining industry and the opportunities it does present for innovation?

The mining industry is a critical industry for ongoing growth in standard of living across the globe. It is largely a hidden industry to the general public but it is a large consumer of energy and producer of critical commodities. Small increases in efficiency in the mining industry can have dramatic consequences in terms of environmental impact and productivity in the wider economy. We also like the people in the mining industry.They are well travelled, have a scientific mindset and look after each other. We fit in well.

What’s next for Steve Durkin and Safescape? What can we all get excited about? 

We still have a long way to go towards full commercialisation of our Edge Protector and Bortana EV products.  If we can successfully deliver on our goals for these products we will measure our success in terms of countries’ GDP and quantifiable health and safety outcomes for miners.

To see more about Steve, Safescape and their exciting Laddertube, Edge Protector and Bortana EV products, check out Safescape’s website at

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