The north's economy minister, Gordon Lyons, has announced 120 jobs for Northern Ireland during a visit to a new manufacturing facility set up by Tribe Technology.

Minerals industry

Based in Perth, Australia, Tribe Technology designs, manufactures and sells autonomous drill rigs to the minerals industry. It is opening a new design and manufacturing facility at Enterprise Way Mallusk. 

'We are pleased to have been able to support and secure such a pioneering manufacturing project for Northern Ireland.' Anne Beggs, director of trade and investment, Invest NI

Minister Lyons said: “Northern Ireland has a diverse advanced manufacturing and engineering sector which, in recent years, has grown almost three times faster than the rest of the UK. I am delighted to welcome Tribe Technology to this vibrant and highly sophisticated sector. 

L-R: Gordon Lyons, economy minister with Anne Beggs, director of trade and investment, Invest NI and Charlie King, managing mirector, Tribe Technology

“Tribe Technology plans to create 120 engineering jobs over the next five years. These roles offer the opportunity to be involved in developing and manufacturing innovative new drilling systems, as well as attractive salaries. Once all the roles are in place this investment will generate in excess of £3 million in annual salaries to the NI economy.”

The Department for the Economy unveiled its '10X economy' vision in May. It is centred on the ability of innovation to deliver a 10 times better economy with benefits for all our people.

The minister said: “Using innovative technologies and methodologies for improved competitiveness is central to continued success in manufacturing. This is exactly what Tribe Technology is doing for the mining industry.

'Smart autonomous drilling system'

"The work it plans to do here in Northern Ireland is highly innovative – designing and manufacturing a new, smart autonomous drilling system for the mineral industry. I have very much enjoyed my visit to the new facility and meeting the first members of the team starting work on this exciting project.”

Charlie King, managing director of Tribe Technology, is a Northern Ireland native, originally from Crossgar.

'We took to decision to locate the manufacturing in Northern Ireland as there is a wealth of heavy manufacturing industrial expertise here.' Charlie King, Managing Director, Tribe Technology

He said: “I have spent more than a decade working in the contract drilling industry in Australia. We identified the opportunity to develop an innovative new product which will revolutionise the drill rig industry for the global minerals industry. Tribe Technology will remove all operators from the dangers of drilling operations, reduce drilling costs and increase drilling uptime.

“This new drilling system will be manufactured in our new Belfast manufacturing facility here at Enterprise Way Mallusk, and then shipped to our first customers in Western Australia and later globally. We took to decision to locate the manufacturing in Northern Ireland as there is a wealth of heavy manufacturing industrial expertise here.

“It is great to finally see the new factory up and running and work well under way to manufacturing these new rigs. Even though we are just getting started we have already recruited 14 people to the team already. The market demand for our technology has been outstanding and we look forward to ramping up to full production capacity ahead of schedule.”

Invest Northern Ireland has been working with Tribe Technology since late 2019, showcasing what Northern Ireland has to offer. The agency has also offered £984,000 of support towards 82 of the jobs.

Anne Beggs, director of trade and investment, Invest NI, said: “There are about 2,200 advanced manufacturing, materials and engineering companies in Northern Ireland involved in a wide variety of activities. This project by Tribe, however, is a new area of manufacturing for Northern Ireland."