The technologies that set to transform Mining
Posted: Jul 25, 2017
Emerging technologies are set to change how miners operate. These days, the industry is all about innovation. Mining firms could either go with the innovative time or sink, it’s as simple as that. It could not be denied that mining is facing a tough time. Fluctuating prices of commodity, along with the declining current resources, new deposits that are difficult to find, harder to get and oftentimes require specialized processing, all put pressure on productivity. Moreover, there is also a strong economic and social competition for resources such as energy and water and shortages of skill that drive up operating costs.
Fortunately, technology advances at present could drive economic transformation for the mining field in the coming years. Although not all of these technologies will impact mining directly, they will play a role in the industry’s supporting sectors such as health and manufacturing. The emerging technologies, including energy storage, advanced robotics and mobile internet could have an impact of between $14 trillion and $33 trillion by 2025.
Check out the technologies that set to transform the mining industry.
- Mobile internet. It is expected to improve productivity of worker and service delivery as well. Improved communication technology has not just boosted mine site safety, but transformed the manner in which safety is managed too. Mining automation is also set to streamline operations.
- Automation of knowledge. Creating networks that collect, monitor and process data would boost process optimization. Furthermore, it would also allow an efficient use of resources, controlling optimal usage of water and electricity.
- Cloud computing. Cloud integration and SaaS or software-as-a-service integration enables mining firms to integrate their various applications so data is entered only once, saving time and building consistency across business centers. A lot of mining sites around Australia are working on the implementation of automated machinery as well as processes on site, something which has been taking place for years in the manufacturing field.
- MAR or Machinery Automation and Robotics. It is able to replace idlers on loaded, operational conveyors. It changes idlers with no need to shut down the conveyor. Since it is a robot, it gets people away from doing difficult tasks.
- Automated trucks. Automation is here to stay. With the prices of commodity slumping, miners are looking for ways to squeeze every last drop out of capital expenditure, which force them to look for the types of operational efficiencies that automation delivers.
- Advancement in energy storage. Mining companies that are hungry for energy are looking for off-grid power solutions, in an attempt to minimize the use of diesel generators. Furthermore, it also helps in bringing down electricity costs and minimize carbon footprint as well. Capture and storage techniques advancements no doubt would go a long way to managing energy consumption, supply, costs and risks.
- 3D Printing. Miners are among those who could benefit from further development of additive manufacturing technologies. 3D printing machines could solve the problem of having replacement parts sent to mining sites.
- Advanced materials. This technology will not only enhance nanomedicines, but boost energy storage and solar cells as well. Improving the longevity of a machinery is another benefit. The formulation of better engine oils could lessen down time, while stronger parts lowers costs of maintenance.
- Renewable electricity. Costs of electricity are one of the most costly inputs of mining. Minimizing usage would enhance environmental impacts as well as soften the blow to a miner’s bottom line.
- Real-time sensors and data processing. Enables miners to operate in a very data rich scenario with much more control over the operations. This enables the sector to be more efficient and considered as the fundamental change that is going to come very fast.
Emerging mining technologies are not the only solutions that would transform the industry. Recycling materials, minimizing waste and finding uses of by-products that are discarded are strategies as well that would impact the bottom line and help meet the growing demand for environmental and social responsibility. A different approach for future development is the key to success. The whole industry, together with the research community has to share innovation and cooperate and be less protective of intellectual property. There are many repetitiveness in the system at present and lots of technologies end up stranded since they either are protected by one company or has no commercial partner to deliver them to the market.
Change in the industry though is coming. Many in the field have realized that being over-protective of intellectual property works actually against the bigger scale savings that possibly come from having standard technologies deployed across the field.
Ritesh Mehta is the Sales Director at TatvaSoft Australia, a Software & mobile app development company. For Over 15 years, he has been professionally active in financial management, software development.