The head of the Kimberley Development Commission hopes the WA government’s backing of a project that plans to make artificial bones from pearl shells could lead to other high-tech industries operating in northern Australia.
- Biotech company hatches plans to make synthetic bones from pearl shells
- The Kimberley Development Commission hopes more tech companies will settle in the area
- Experts say encouraging more diverse industries outside Perth is good for regional development
Biotechnology company Marine Biomedical also plans to develop a synthetic bone substitute from marine resources such as nacre, commonly known as nacre, a by-product of Broome’s pearling industry.
It is also in the early stages of developing a pearl-based toothpaste.
“While pearl shell is usually sent overseas and sold in overseas markets for various things such as watch faces, paintings and ornaments, we consider it more important that it stays in Australia. to be converted into various different braces.”
Mr Moase said the company had completed its prototype for making bone from the raw material and was close to finalizing plans for its raw material processing laboratory in the Kimberley.
He said a state grant of $200,000 would allow the company to establish the quality control and raw materials processing lab to begin seeking regulatory approvals, which could take several years. .
Pearl Bone Could Open Door to Northern Australian Tech
Kimberley Development Commission CEO Chuck Berger said he hoped more companies engaged in high-level research and development would follow Marine Biomedical’s lead and position their operations in the north.
“When you ask what are natural resources in the 21st century, it’s increasingly biodiversity, natural resources, renewable resources of a whole range of different things,” he said.
Mr Berger said the development of more high-tech projects in the Kimberley, including in the biomedical sector, would lead to more jobs and training opportunities.
“It adds to a sense of being on the cutting edge, a sense of possibility, a sense of the future for the region and economic diversification,” he said.
“A lot of people might just think of the Kimberleys as a tourist destination, or maybe cattle ranches, and those are very important and will continue to be. But the real future is a more diverse economy.
“So we want to look at the kind of niche manufacturing, digital biomedical industries and more that make up a cluster of expertise.
University of Washington political scientist Professor Shamit Saggar said he was “very sympathetic” to hopes that more high-level industries would be developed in the north.
“It makes sense in terms of regional development, and it makes sense in terms of assets in those regions,” he said.
“You [also] need to have a proper 30 year strategy for WA’s second, third and fourth cities.
“Those two things need to be resolved and addressed by the government for this vision to come to fruition.”